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tv   Ali Velshi on Target  Al Jazeera  January 6, 2016 6:30am-7:01am EST

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o you can find out more on the al jazeera website. and the leading bulletin, that of this h bomb test announced by the north korean authorities in pyongyang. hi. i'm ali velshi "on target". tonight power play president obama bypasses congress on gun control taking executive anxiouss that are either overreaching or under whelming, depending on which side you're on. president obama is kicking off 2016 by taking a stand in combatting gun violence and he is ticking off his opponents in process. he announced a series of executive actions. they exclude expanding mandatory
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background checks for gun sales and offending new agents to especially force existing gun laws. the he p wants to invest more money into mejth health care-- mejth health car. republicans came out swinging, not just what they called than a second attack on amendment, but issuing orders without approval from congress. >> it is delusional, dangerous, not to mention unconstitutional >> >> you are supposed to get together and pass a law. he doesn't want to do that because it is too much work >> he wants to act as a king, a dictator. if he wants to change these laws, go to congress and necessary. >> it is not a surprise that people don't believe that our government is working on their behalf when you have a president that recklessly uses executive authority that the constitution doesn't provide them jeb bush's own brother george wrchlt bush issued more
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executive orders while in office than any president or certainly than president obama has so far. xhar this, 291 issued during the bush white house compared to 227 under this president up to now. there is still another year of this presidency. one of president's bush's orders created the department of homened land security. president obama has issued fewer executive orders than all but one of his predecessors going back 30 years. president george hw bush, who only served one term had fewer executive orders. this isn't the first time president obama has faced charges of executive over reach. in november his order was blocked to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. executive orders can be controversial, but they can also change history. the most famous is the proclamation issued during the civil war. president obama isn't the only
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one to be heavily criticized for flecking his executive muscle while in office. franklin roosevelt issued more than any other, 3721. he was in office for three terms. he was forced to defend himself against his krit particulars. - critics. >> the responsibilities of the president in war time to protect the nation are especially grave. i cannot tell what powers may have to be exercised in order to win this war one of his most famous was detaining japanese americans in internment camps during world war ii. less controversial were his orders that created a slew of federaling agencies and the national park systems which are still with us today. president obama executive action today may not make it to the history books. almost every republican presidential candidate has vowed
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to over turn the action if elected. the action today is legal in spite of the g.o.p.s rallying crisis to the contrary. a senior fellow is with us. good to see you. thank you for joining us. the president is taking a lot of heat over today's executive action. he has been called a king, a dictator, an imperfectlyialist. it seems to me it is not too different to what other presidents has done >> that's right. if he is a king he is probably a bad one. today's actions are mild, they're meek, completely within the discretion of the law, the discretion that the law gives him. i think a lot of the republican talking points that you heard today were canned. they were ready to go. they would have come out the same way with the same words no matter what the president did today. sdwloo p let me ask you about this. g.o.p. presidential candidates say if they get into office they
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will overturn the order asap. they also say they will rip up the nuclear deal and others. but how much of what president obama has done today and in general were these kinds of executive actions or orders is about change and how much is about peacocking >> about both. the president wants to see change on gun policy. he thinks that the praj that we've seen over his course of administrative ignores and others is a problem and he wants to fix it. he thinks that some of the proposals he put forward today will fix that. at the same time this is base politics for him. the left really wants enhanced gun control. he is there to deliver it for them. so as much as there is a policy change here, like a lot of presidential actions, there is a whole lot of politics wrapped up into it too he is not new to this job
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and executive orders and actions are not in new to the presidency. why did he wait until now? >> that's a really interesting question. the authority that the president is invoking in issuing the actions today, which are largely regulations, he has had that power since january 20 2009, since he swore an oath. the conditions haven't changed that much. he has had an administration which has had several mass shootings during its time. so it is interesting why he has p chosen now to do this. it could set the agenda for the election year, it could help democrats, but it could also really boost republicans as well. he has had the authority the whole time. he is just choosing now is the right time to use it not haul executive orders are grand life changing, some are symbolic and some get struck down in court like the action on immigration last year. others are in hindsight
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embarrassing, like the decision to intern japanese americans in camps. what is the likelihood of an executive action or an executive order standing? how often do they stand or fail? >> presidents tend to get a lot of deference from court. this president has most of his predecessors have reached and others too. the most controversial part of what the president is talking about is expanding the background check system. what he is doing is he is regulating, he is doing a federal agency to create a new regulation or actually rather to change an existing regulation which defines what a business is and who qualifies for background checks. this is an issue that has stood the test of time. these regulations have existed for quite some time. it is pretty likely that they're going to stand in fact, it is not really a philosophical change that the
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president executive action is engendering. it's what many americans would think of enforcement of background check legislation. >> that's right. it is being enforced. enforcing the law is something that the president is supposed to do, but also a president is given authority by the courts to interpret vague provisions of law. so in reality where the president is drawing this authority is from statute, a law that congress passed that it wasn't clear about. so if congress doesn't like what the president is doing, they're free to overturn his regulations. they can amend the existing law that grants him that authority. of course, they will have to overcome a veto but they have the power to do that you said this president has overreached his predecessors have over reached. that's what you're going to hear in the campaign and it is what you're hearing today. it sounds to me that presidents over reach and it's part of the
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way they do business. >> it is. we have a court system that can check that power and we're lucky enough here to live under a system where presidents respect that, but the president was struck down by the court for his recess appointments earlier in his administration and presidents in the past have had similar experiences with the court. by around large, these choices over executive actions, are not quick or flippant, they're not off-the-cuff. they involve a lot of deliberation between the white house and the justice department, the agencies that are at play. to determine exactly what the president's legal authority is based on the law and based oppress dent and so because of that it is less common for a president to get over ruled but it still happens thank you. good to talk to you. >> thank you even gun control advocates
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may have a bone to pick with the president's actions on gun control. we asked the question what took him so later and also what the government may do with armed federal building. >> they just turned a blind eye. >> within two blocks, three people have serious cancer.
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president obama announced new executive actions today intended to curb gun violence in america. in a speech in the white house the president said he was forced to take the initiative because the gun lobby is holding the country hostage. he was excused of over reach. on the politics of gun control and aexecutive actions, our
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guest from washington. why did president obama take this particular approach? >> if you want to look at it through a kras political lens, there is somebody in this for everybody. this issue is more than any sew polarized left and right. there's maelt for both bases here. there's little middle ground. why now? why the way he did it? he did this to upgrade the guidelines. he had a couple of choices. he could have made a new rule through an executive order. this is an executive action. the procedure there isn't as strict. the upshot is these rules go into effect immediately. if he issued an executive order, he would have to go through a comment period appeared a certain process that would probably have taken us beyond his term in office. so there is a lot of calculation here both politically and as a matter of policy for why the president acted the way he did and how he did and when he
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did today in the eastern area you heard my conversation just now. >> yeah he has the same request question-- the same question? why now? you might think he is a political pae cock, but it looks believe that he got moved by these mass shootings. ago. >> most of us have watched him for a while. he has two daughters and sometimes that emotion as a parent exhibits itself or manifests itself in ways like this. i think the only time i remember him actually shedding tears was as it happens after the shooting three years ago. in terms of why he did it now and how he did it now, why not? that's a great question. the white house has been asked this question on background calls and elsewhere several times. they really don't answer it. i think the answer is to be
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found in the fact that the president had given up the ghost in trying to get congress to go along. you may think that happened a while ago, that the signs were clear before that, but simply put the president doesn't have any more big legislative priorities that are going to be natural to republicans. the only thing left on the agenda, and they're naturally inclined to support that. i think he has given up the idea that he is going to be working with republican to enact anything thank you for that. some folks really don't like this business of the president making unilateral decisions about gun, but is this executive action really an ooefr reachings of the president's authorities? brian dhoherty says yes. he is a senior editor and author of gun control on trial. inside the supreme court battle over the second amendment. he joins me now from palm springs. thank you for being with us.
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we have heard pretty much every g.o.p. criticise his executive action calling it imperfectlyialism, tyranny and a dictatorship. one called it a blatant belligerent abuse of power. presidents have used the same action at their disposal many, many times. the president is not even one of the more frequent users of it. >> that's true. the issue for those of us who are concerned about it is not so much the quantity or who it is using it, but the fact that it is used at all. i actually do hope that these republican candidates, if any of them becomes president, actually remember. the problem with the whole executive action thing and the part soon divide-- partisan divide is they're happy to see their guy to do whatever they want. the reason the republicans are getting upset is it about gun control which is extremely important to both their base and the obama base
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they have said it's over reach, blah, blah, don't take away my second amendment rights on the other side. it's not about gun control, but this is about executive authority. something that ebbs and flows in various administrations. there is certainly something in the history of the presidency that says, and the courts uphold this, that presidents do have some rights to do some things that don't involve congress. >> well, you do need to break it down to the specifics of this. one of the things he is trying to do is to spend more money on more atf agents. the budgetary authority is supposed to come out of congress. the separation of powers here in america is intelligently designed so that the politicians who are closest to the people, which is the house of representatives, has the power of deciding where the money is spent. another issue is to interpret the law, the law that says
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licence firearms dealers have to have background checks. congress has the power to specify who should fall under that law and to people who were upset about this action, they think that should be left up to congress. obama knows that he is doing things that are going around congressional power. the way he framed this is they're not doing anything, so i'm going to he also knows he is doing something in this particular instance. the idea of enforcing background checks and getting around gun sellers. there are many americans who don't want things changed, but they think it is a weird one. how many times has the president got to ask to do something and we have had dozens of mass shootings since he took office. he tasked congress to do something with it. nothing happened. he knows he has got the public on his side >> i'm glad you mentioned the mass shootings because that's how he framed why this was such an important issue, but the fact
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is these increased background checks would not have had any affect at all on any of the alleged reasons we're having this in the first place. it is a power grab and a useless and effectiveless power grab which makes it doubly curious you're right that the mass shooting incidents, not all of them, but all of the ones that make the news. the issue is lots of people who shoot other people illegally don't buy their guns with proper background checks. unfortunately the media doesn't cover most of the killings in america which are not mass shootings. he is using popular imagery to get this legislation through or through. >> right. there are two levels in which the background checks don't really work. with the more media mass shootings they're done by people who snap and go nuts. they don't have any previous background or mental health background.
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on the other level more gang level violence elevel. people who are able to get their guns through the background check isn't required. it is curious to see him using background checks as an important thing when the problem he says he is trying to solve would in almost all cases not be affected by it do you think, though, regardless of your views about gun control, do you think - the media is not making this up, the number of shootings in which more and more people are killed, is at a much higher rate than it has been? >> there was a one-year blip in it, yes, but they have been on a downward slide for the last 25 years gun suicide. more people who die from a bullet wound is self-inflicted. >> that's true. that's actually important to remember because most of the political energy behind this is not about suicide. it's about gun murders, about the scary things.
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these big numbers you hear about gun deaths are suicide but homicides. that's what people are concerned with. if the law can affect anything, it will be homicides more than suicide thank you for that. coming up, a story of men with gun in oregon. they say the u.s. government is guilty of land management over reach and they over run a refuge for wildlife. the only way to get better is to challenge yourself,
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republican presidential candidates continue to complain about executive over reach coming out of the white house. of course, they are complaining about president obama's executive actions announced today meant to kerb gun control violence in america. critics on the right say the president's move is a latest example of over reach coming out of washington and that is a message that binds fertile-- find fertile ground in western states. landowners and ranchers in places like oregon and never add aare at odds and that is the background of groups of armed activists occupying a federal wildlife building in a remote part of south-east oregon. going to our correspondent, he is on the ground. who are these armed men and what are they asking for? >> reporter: most of them come
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from arizona and they are from the bundy family or from that militia group, as they sometimes are called. they came here on saturday to take part in a protest against two local ranchers that were being threatened to go back to jail for some allegedly illegal burning that was that taking place. there were about 300 people taking part in a march here of like-minded people. then a few of these folks broke off and that's when they came here and overtook and occupied this wildlife refuge behind me. it is just over the edge of that hill there. what they want is pretty clear. they want the federal government to turn over the land back to the local ranchers here. they say that the federal government that is it, is managing the land illegally, unconstitutionally and they say they will stay here occupying this building until the government turns it back over to
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what they say is the rightful owners. the lanchers we're hearing that electricity is going to be cut from that building slowing things down, forcing them out. the snow is behind you. it is obviously cold. what have you heard the government is going to do? >> i will say we have not seen any police f.b.i. presence for miles around here. let's pan out. you can get a sense of how vast this area is here. we asked them if electricity had been cut off around they didn't really answer the question, but the indications they said even if it is, they have enough propane, enough wood to make fire, that they're going to be aok. they said they have been getting help from other ranchers in the area that have been bringing them food. what the government's response is or f.b.i.'s response is we don't know yet. they have no presence here. as you just saw from that pan, you can get the sense of no
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police presence or any sort of law enforcement presence here. they're taking a light approach to this are these armed people getting support from local ranchers and landowners? they're making the point about land being mismanaged, but are there others around them supporting them? >> it is a good question and it is a complicated answer. some local ranchers are supporting them. some aren't. we heard from the sheriff yesterday who had two words. he said go home. that's the local sheriff. we've been talking to ranchers around here, a lot who won't talk to us on camera. a lot are conflicted. they say they're agree with what they're trying to do, raise awareness over the conflict of the land with the government. some are weary of them having arms and potentially bringing violence to the region. that's where they're very
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conflicted. a lot of them are ones that don't want to go on camera or necessarily come out here to support them publicly, but yet quietly behind the scenes are saying good, there is finally attention to this putting aside the fact that maybe these other ranchers and landowners don't want to take up arms. the idea of federal over it isreach goes over very well in that part of the woods. >> it really does. it is universal to anyone you talk to here. it comes down to an sage bird. it was threatened to go on the threatened list. they fought against that because if it would have been put on that list, it would have cut into the grazing land that ranchers could have used for their cattle. this is the kind of issue that
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locals here, the local ranchers say is an example of government overreach, people in washington they say making decisions on what animals should be on what list. it cuts into their livelihood and their way of life here. in terms of this particular bird, the government actually backed down and the bird was not put on the endangered species list, but it gives you an example of the issues people bring up here as saying is government over reach. they have a long list as long as the arm where you have you dig into a story there is always an sagef
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