August 8

* Today the United States began airstrikes against targets of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Surprisingly, Republicans think they aren’t tough and manly enough:

Republicans suggested that the administration had acted too slowly and timidly to confront the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and now was moving too cautiously against the group. Some said he should not rule out ground troops.

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio accused the president of “parochial thinking” that had emboldened the enemy and “squanders the sacrifices Americans have made.”

Ah yes, “emboldening the enemy.” If only George W. Bush were around to say we’d get ‘em dead or alive, like he did with Osama bin Laden a mere nine years before bin Laden was killed on Barack Obama’s orders, ISIS would be significantly less bold.

* Republicans are convinced that Barack Obama is going to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants. Sahil Kapur discusses whether the Supreme Court already gave the President all the authority he needs:

The Supreme Court reaffirmed the wide latitude that the executive branch on immigration in the 2012 ruling Arizona v. US, in which the justices said key provisions of Arizona’s strict immigration law ran afoul of federal supremacy in the area.

“Removal is a civil matter, and one of its principal features is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials, who must decide whether to pursue removal at all,”wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in the majority decision, joined by four other justices.

Let’s not forget that the administration hasn’t actually said what it’s going to do yet.

* Sikha Dalmia has a persuasive post arguing that whether you like what Obama has done on immigration or not, he’s acting within his authority.

* Conservative legal scholar Jonathan Adler agrees, informing his compatriots that even if Barack Obama does it, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily illegal.

* Joan Walsh identifies a trend: Some in the media are starting to argue that if Republicans impeach Obama — even if what he does is perfectly legal — it’ll be his fault, because he made them mad.

* Jonathan Cohn reminds us that any executive action on deportations that Obama undertakes can be undone by President Cruz in January 2017. Conservatives often say it will never be undone, but the fact that this is at the discretion of the president is actually central to the legal argument over it.

* Maybe this is really the problem here: Bloomberg View explains how the border has a way of driving people to craziness.

* The mine workers’ union is hitting Mitch McConnell over the fact that his wife sat on the board of a group waging a “war on coal.” The specifics of this case aside, the involvement of that union is going to be crucial if Alison Lundergan Grimes is to make inroads in “Obama hates coal” eastern Kentucky, a.k.a., McConnell country. — gs

* Crossroads GPS is airing an ad in Colorado featuring another Obamacare “victim.” But Steve Benen looks at her tale and asks whether it is actually an Obamacare success story, noting that the drop in uninsured in this state has also been particularly dramatic, which should relevant here. — gs

* Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst today claimed that if Barack Obama had left troops in Iraq, “we wouldn’t have this situation today.” Once we get the full quote, we’ll see what she meant, and it could become an issue.

* Ernst’s opponent, Rep. Bruce Braley, got into a dispute with a neighbor over chickens which kept coming into the Braleys’ yard. The Post explains how this could become an explosive political scandal; note that a Republican group is on the case:

The chicken episode is the latest in a series of missteps by Braley that have fueled a nasty character assault against him and transformed Iowa’s Senate race into one of the most competitive in the country. Hampton [the neighbor], a lifelong Democrat, said a film crew with America Rising, a Republican opposition research group, recently came to her house to interview her for a possible super PAC television ad.

Really, on “the chicken episode” control of the United States Senate might hinge.

* The D.C. Medical Examiner has ruled that Jim Brady’s death was caused by the injuries he sustained 33 years ago when he was shot by John Hinckley, and his death is therefore a homicide.

* The New York Times has finally decided to call torture what it is: “torture.” At the American Prospect, I explain why their explanation for why it took them so long shows they still don’t get it.

* Forty years ago, with his criminality becoming clear, Richard Nixon resigned the presidency. John Aloysius Farrell looks back at some of the darkness in Nixon’s soul.

* And this has to be the headline of the day: “New York Man Who Found Hitler’s Top Hat Dies at 88.” Godspeed to you, good sir.