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Author Topic: Obama: Corruption, Deception, Dishonesty, Deceit and Promises Broken  (Read 85563 times)
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« Reply #1600 on: August 06, 2012, 03:56:41 AM »

Obama associate got $100,000 fee from affiliate of firm doing business with Iran
WASHINGTON POST ^ | 8/6/2012 | By Tom Hamburger
Posted on August 6, 2012 6:51:37 AM EDT by tobyhill

David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser who was President Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, accepted a $100,000 speaking fee in 2010 from an affiliate of a company doing business with Iran’s government.

A subsidiary of MTN Group, a South Africa-based telecommunications company, paid Plouffe for two speeches he made in Nigeria in December 2010, about a month before he joined the White House staff.

Since Plouffe’s speeches, MTN Group has come under intensified scrutiny from U.S. authorities because of its activities in Iran and Syria, which are under international sanctions intended to limit the countries’ access to sensitive technology. At the time of Plouffe’s speeches, MTN had been in a widely reported partnership for five years with a state-owned Iranian telecommunications firm.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
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« Reply #1601 on: August 07, 2012, 07:16:59 AM »

August 7, 2012 4:00 A.M.

Obama in Never-Never Land

A slavish regard for truth is no match for inspired mythography.

By Victor Davis Hanson




The chief tenet of postmodernism is that truth and facts are arbitrary constructs, set up by the privileged to manipulate others less fortunate. In the case of our first postmodernist president, Barack Obama, there cannot be facts, past or present, only a set of shifting assertions that gain credence to the degree that they prove transitorily useful for progressive causes. A sympathetic biographer, David Maraniss, noted that almost all the touchstone events in Barack Obama’s mythographic memoir were fabricated. Of course, Obama would object to such a value-laden term and instead call them composites, impressions stitched together and presented as truth to serve the higher moral narrative: a young biracial idealist searching for his identity in a mostly racist and oppressive America. To the degree that Dreams from My Father enhanced that narrative, then all of what was in it was “true” — even the literary agent’s bio attesting that the exotic author was born in faraway Kenya.
 
For the fabulist Obama, the past is a vague mess with shifting narratives that can serve noble contemporary causes. Take World War II — the old war that supposedly proves that victory is now an obsolete term, since, as Obama explained, Japanese Emperor Hirohito capitulated to General MacArthur, apparently on the deck of the Missouri, in a rare act never to happen again. Obama’s own grandfather was in the forefront of stopping Nazism, and the more dramatic the circumstances the better — so who cares whether the Russians, and not an American unit, liberated Auschwitz and Treblinka?
 

Indeed, the war is a sort of a vague haze where Nazi death camps become “Polish” and Pearl Harbor was hit with “the bomb.” If it is useful while speaking in Cairo to pretend that the Islamic world helped to prompt the European Renaissance (which benefitted enormously from the flight of Greek scholars as Constantinople was threatened by the Ottoman Turks) and Enlightenment (which ignited a Romantic interest in freeing Greece from Islam), then so be it. If Córdoba had few, if any, Muslims during the Spanish Inquisition, who cares, if we wish to hold up the Muslims there as beacons of tolerance in comparison to murderous Catholics?
 
No American has any idea whether recess appointments, executive privilege, executive orders, or filibusters are to be considered good, bad, or indifferent, since Senator/President Obama has damned and embraced them all. I vaguely remember that at one time Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, and preventive detention were either of no value or unconstitutional, and trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court and prosecuting CIA agents for supposedly too harsh interrogations were good. But that was all more than three years in the past, and hundreds of “Make no mistake about it”s and “Let me be perfectly clear”s  ago.
 
I recall that there were once admonitions that President Obama could not by fiat enact amnesty or special programs for African-Americans based on race, and that he could not come out unequivocally for gay marriage. But who knows, since someone did enact amnesty, set up a special bureau for African-American education, and use support for gay marriage as a wedge issue in the 2012 campaign.
 
It is demagogic to suggest that anyone in the Obama administration deliberately leaked national-security secrets to favored New York and Washington reporters, so leaks about Predator-drone targeting, cyber war against Iran, double agents in Yemen, and the details of the Osama bin Laden mission were not really leaks at all, or, if they were, they came from non-administration sources.
 
The Obama health-care plan was once different from Hillary Clinton’s in that it never included an individual mandate, but then it did have a mandate, then it had a tax instead, and it ended up with a penalty. The only constant is that names change as circumstances dictate. Barack Obama does not take money from oil companies, hire lobbyists, approve of earmarks, or raise money from Wall Street, but somebody with that name did. The new civility is “punish our enemies.”  Voter intimidation is asking for an ID at the polls — it is not trying to make it more difficult for those in the military to vote. Developing domestic energy means canceling the Keystone pipeline and putting vast areas of federal lands off limits to gas and oil production. If the private sector goes ahead, despite federal regulations and discouragement, with new fracking and horizontal drilling, then the Obama administration achieved record levels of domestic oil and gas production.
 
Someone said something about cutting the deficit in half within four years and, through borrowing, forcing unemployment under 6 percent, but I am not sure any more who it was — given that that was 42 months of 8 percent–plus unemployment and $5 trillion in borrowed money ago. 
 
No one knows what “reset” with Russia was, or is, or will be; it didn’t so much fail as simply got erased. Nor can anyone figure out whether the dissidents in the streets of Tehran in 2009 were noble or to be ignored, or why exactly we belatedly  supported the ouster of Mubarak, or what exactly turned Qaddafi from a monstrous oil exporter who had to be appeased to a really monstrous oil exporter who had to be removed, or why we had to reopen our embassy in Damascus as a gesture to the “reformer” Assad, who is now a murderous non-reformer who must go.
 
I am sure Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush flip-flopped and did things that they had said they would not, but there was always the clear sense that their hypocrisies were adjudicated by some sort of standard. With President Obama there is neither a reality nor a standard, just words that so often have no connection to the real world, past or present.
 
— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author most recently of The End of Sparta, a novel about ancient freedom.
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« Reply #1602 on: August 07, 2012, 10:21:16 AM »

Report: Cronyism, political donations likely behind Obama, Holder failure to charge any bankers after 2008 financial meltdown

http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/07/report-cronyism-political-donations-likely-behind-obama-holder-failure-to-charge-any-bankers-after-2008-financial-meltdown/?print=1


Report: Cronyism, political donations likely behind Obama, Holder failure to charge any bankers after 2008 financial meltdown
 

12:34 AM 08/07/2012


A new report from the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) finds that President Barack Obama’s and Attorney General Eric Holder’s failure to criminally charge any top Wall Street bankers is likely a result of cronyism inside the Department of Justice and political donations made to Obama’s campaign.
 
Despite Obama’s and Holder’s “heated rhetoric” against Wall Street (in 2009, Obama blamed the 2008 financial collapse on “reckless speculation of bankers” while Holder charged that “unscrupulous executives, Ponzi scheme operators and common criminals alike have targeted the pocketbooks and retirement accounts of middle class Americans”), they haven’t “filed a single criminal charge against any top executive of an elite financial institution,” GAI wrote in its report, exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller.
 
GAI argues that the Obama administration’s decision to not go after Big Finance is due to senior DOJ leadership — Holder, Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, Associate Attorney General Tony West, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, Deputy Attorney General James Cole and Deputy Associate Attorney General Karol Mason — who “all came to the DOJ from prestigious white-collar defense firms where they represented the very financial institutions the DOJ is supposed to investigate.”
 
The report details how Holder and Breuer both came to the DOJ from Covington & Burling, a “top-tier Washington law firm” with a client list that includes financial firms like Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, CitiBank, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, ING, Morgan Stanley, UBS and Wilmington Trust.
 
GAI said that President Obama’s decision to choose Holder, “a white-collar defense attorney from Covington,” as his attorney general, over a “more fiery prosecutor,” appears to have sent “a subtle signal to the financial community” that this administration isn’t going to actually do anything, despite the harsh words.
 
Cole, the report outlines, was with Bryan Cave LLP — “a white-shoe firm with A-list clients” — before becoming Holder’s right-hand man at the DOJ. One of Cole’s clients while at Bryan Cave LLP, the GAI report shows, was insurance and financial giant AIG.
 
Cole had done $20 million worth of work for AIG between 2004 and 2008, but his close ties with the company — which was “at the heart of the financial crisis largely because of its noncompliance in regulatory and compliance issues” — didn’t stop Obama or Holder from welcoming him aboard their administration.
 
The Obama administration’s decision to not appoint an independent counsel to investigate the MF Global scandal, despite more than 60 members of Congress demanding it, also reeks of cronyism, the GAI report details. Obama bundler and former Democratic New Jersy Gov. Jon Corzine was at the center of MF Global.
 
GAI points out how West — the DOJ’s no. 3 official — worked as a white-collar defense attorney for Morrison and Foerster before he came to the DOJ. Morrison and Foerster is currently providing legal representation to MF Global. Holder and Breuer’s old law firm — Covington & Burling — provided legal services to MF Global too, before MF Global sought bankruptcy protection.
 
GAI adds that the appearance of MF Global cronyism is “further complicated” by how Reid Weingarten — an attorney at Steptoe & Johnson — was selected to be MF Global treasurer Edith O’Brien’s lawyer.
 
“Weingarten previously served as Holder’s attorney following the controversial pardon of Marc Rich in the Clinton Justice Department,” the GAI report reads, adding that the blog Main Justice points out how Weingarten is “one of Holder’s best friends.”
 
In addition to those officials’ potential personal financial interests — were they to return to their old firms after their time at the DOJ ends — in avoiding investigating those big banks, GAI points out how “Obama’s top DOJ officials played prominent roles in his 2008 campaign.”
 
Holder, the nation’s top DOJ official, “co-chaired the campaign with Tony West, the DOJ’s third highest official.”
 
“No other modern administration has staffed the DOJ with big money fundraisers,” GAI wrote. “Holder bundled $50,000 for Obama’s 2008 campaign, while Perrelli, West, and Mason all bundled $500,000 for the campaign. West also helped Obama raised an estimated $65 million in California.”
 
GAI president Peter Schweizer told TheDC that cronyism appears to be infiltrating the halls of the DOJ with the Obama administration, and that it appears Holder’s team has no interest in fighting for accountability when it comes to Wall Street because he, Obama and the rest of the DOJ team have a financial interest in not enforcing those laws.
 
“When we think of cronyism and the problems of cronyism and crony capitalism, we think in terms of economic loss and gain,” Schweizer said in a phone interview. “What we’re showing here is that cronyism is now permeating our justice system. So, it’s not just a question of dollars and cents, it’s a question of whether you’re going to face legal jeopardy or not on what you’re doing.”
 
“The issue of a revolving door — people who go in and out of, for instance, the Department of Energy who go work for energy companies then come back to the Department of Energy — is always there,” Schweizer added. “But, we’re not used to associating the top leadership of the Justice Department with the revolving door. And, I think that’s what makes this so troubling — because you can’t trust them. All their financial interests are tied up with these large firms that do an enormous amount of business with Wall Street.”
 
In the report, GAI details how the George W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations both actually took down financial criminals — unlike the Obama administration. Between 2002 and 2008, for instance, GAI points out how a Bush administration task force “obtained over 1,300 corporate fraud convictions, including those of over 130 corporate vice presidents and over 200 CEOs and corporate presidents.”
 
“Clinton’s DOJ prosecuted over 1,800 S&L [savings and loans] executives, senior officials, and directors, and over 1,000 of them were sent to jail,” GAI adds.
 
But, despite having “promised more of the same,” especially in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the Obama administration’s DOJ has not brought criminal charges against a single major Wall Street executive.
 
The Bush and Clinton administrations’ track records on prosecuting white-collar crime, and the Obama administration’s failure to do so, Schweizer said, is “evidence that this has less to do with some sort of partisan or philosophical issue.”
 
“I think it has to do with the fact that, previously, under Clinton or under Bush, you had senior people who were prosecutors — who not only had previous experience, but were actually active prosecutors,” Schweizer said. “The problem that you have at the Obama Justice Department, particularly bizarre at this time and place where we were coming off the financial crisis, is that they really have no recent prosecutors at the top of the Justice Department. They’re all white-collar criminal defense attorneys. That’s what’s so troubling. One would think that, given the financial crisis, and the widespread conduct, they would have at least carved out some senior positions for prosecutors who could really drill down on this. That’s what Clinton did, and that’s what Bush did.”
 
As one of many examples of where Holder’s DOJ could have gone after Wall Street but failed, GAI cites how Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin “proposed that the DOJ criminally investigate Goldman Sachs for its handling of the Abacus 2007-AC1 transaction” in an April 2011 Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report. In that 635-page report, Levin and his staff — who are Democrats — recommended that Holder’s DOJ investigate potential crimes committed. Levin’s subcommittee and the Federal Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission both made formal referrals to the DOJ for investigation – and Forbes magazine ran an article with the headline, “Criminal Charges Loom for Goldman Sachs After Scathing Report.”
 
Nothing happened. But, over the course of the rest of 2011, Obama went on a massive fundraising drive down Wall Street.
 
“By the fall of 2011, Obama had collected more donations from Wall Street than any of the Republican candidates, and employees at Bain Capital had donated more than twice as much to Obama as they did to [Mitt] Romney, the firm’s founder,” GAI wrote in its report.
 
“In the weeks before and after the Senate report on Goldman Sachs, several Goldman executives and their families made contributions to Obama’s Victory Fund and related entities and some contributors maxed out at the largest individual donation allowed, $35,800.”
 
“Five senior Goldman Sachs executives wrote more than $130,000 in checks to the Obama Victory Fund,” GAI continued. “Two of these executives had never donated to Obama before and had previously only given small donations to individual candidates.”
 
While GAI said in the report that it would be a “reach to conclude that the Department of Justice dropped its criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs solely in response to large campaign contributions” from its executives, it certainly doesn’t pass the smell test — and calls for investigations continue.
 
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Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/07/report-cronyism-political-donations-likely-behind-obama-holder-failure-to-charge-any-bankers-after-2008-financial-meltdown/#ixzz22sjtgqi7



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« Reply #1603 on: August 07, 2012, 01:47:41 PM »

David Plouffe and ‘The Same-Old Game Playing in Washington.’
By Jim Geraghty

August 6, 2012 9:18 A.M.

Comments
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http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/313169/david-plouffe-and-same-old-game-playing-washington



Pick out the more surprising news here:
 
1) David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser who was President Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, accepted a $100,000 speaking fee in 2010 from an affiliate of a company doing business with Iran’s government.
 
2) David Plouffe gets $50,000 per speech.
 
As the Post reports:
 

Since Plouffe’s speeches, MTN Group has come under intensified scrutiny from U.S. authorities because of its activities in Iran and Syria, which are under international sanctions intended to limit the countries’ access to sensitive technology. At the time of Plouffe’s speeches, MTN had been in a widely reported partnership for five years with a state-owned Iranian telecommunications firm.

There were no legal or ethical restrictions on Plouffe being paid to speak to the MTN subsidiary as a private citizen. But for a close Obama aide to have accepted payment from a company involved in Iran could prove troublesome for the president as the White House toughens its stance toward the Islamic republic. In recent weeks, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney has accused the administration of being soft on Iran.
 
If you want to argue that the Obama administration’s policies towards Iran are soft because of a speech that David Plouffe gave in 2010 to a South African company, you can go ahead and do that. I think the simpler explanation is that President Obama is the man who declared in a Democratic presidential debate that he was willing to meet with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions. This is not a man with gut-level revulsion for the Iranian regime, which announced its worldview and intent to the world by taking Americans hostage and parading them before television cameras, which spent the following decades becoming the preeminent state sponsor of terror and blew up 19 U.S. Airmen in Khobar Towers in 1996. President Obama is a man who really does believe, or did believe, that America and Iran could “get past” previous acts of mass murder and come to a peaceful agreement.
 
No, the bigger story out of the Plouffe speeches is that President Obama, who campaigned so passionately against what he called the “revolving door” between the highest levels of government and the lobbying/influence business, has absolutely no problem with it when his friends do it.
 
The White House assures us that Plouffe merely went to speak to the company about “mobile technology and digital communications.” It was merely his technical expertise, and not his connection to the president, that spurred MTN Group to spend $100,000, and probably about $5,000-$10,000 on air fare (how likely is it that Plouffe flew coach, or had many layovers?) and more on lodging.
 
Now, how many speeches are worth $110,000 to a company? What could President Obama’s 2008 campaign manager have to say about “mobile technology and digital communications” that would create $110,000 in value to a telecommunications company?
 
Perhaps Plouffe really is that smart. Or perhaps what made him worth the expense was his relationship to the president – and perhaps MTN Group, like many large international business, felt it would be good to have friends in high places. Friends in high places are often for sale once the campaigns end or they leave government work. It’s all legal, both sides do it, and attempting to ban it would probably create more problems than it would solve. (For example, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle provides “strategic advice on public policy matters” to a law firm that is one of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington, but he insists that he does not lobby.)
 
Government work and campaign work often don’t pay very well. But those who choose that path can develop relationships with powerful people – and thus, once a campaign or government worker has built up enough solid relationships with powerful lawmakers, they can cash in on the decades of effort with highly-compensated “totally not a lobbyist” jobs like Daschle’s, or through extremely well-compensated speaking gigs like Plouffe. Again, both sides do it.
 
But as a candidate, Obama explicitly and loudly denounced this phenomenon, and he ran ads on it: “The chairman of the committee who pushed the law through went to work for the pharmaceutical industry, making $2 million a  year. Imagine that! That’s an example of the same-old game playing in Washington. I don’t want to play the game better, I want to put an end to the game-playing.”
 


Of course, since then, we’ve seen this bold opposition and determination reach its expiration date. This was one of the first promises that PolitiFact declared explicitly “broken”:
 

Obama’s ethics proposals specifically spelled out that former lobbyists would not be allowed to “work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years.” On his first full day in office, Obama signed an executive order to that effect. But the order has a loophole — a “waiver” clause that allows former lobbyists to serve. That waiver clause has been used at least three times, and in some cases, the administration allows former lobbyists to serve without a waiver. After examining the administration’s actions for the past two months, we have concluded that Obama has broken this promise.
 
More than 40 lobbyists served or serve in top-level positions within the Obama administration.
 
Top lobbyists are among those who visit the White House most frequently. And we’ve seen that in order to avoid meetings with lobbyists showing up in the White House logs, Obama staffers meet with them at the Caribou Coffee just down the street from the White House. There’s your reform, lobbyists; under Obama, the staffers come closer to you.
 
Obama proudly declares he doesn’t accept donations from lobbyists… so the lobbyists give to the DNC, which runs ads on behalf of Obama.
 
President Obama is very pleased with a slipshod illusion of reform. Deals like MTN Group’s one with Plouffe reveal what he really thinks of “the same-old game playing in Washington.”




Tags: Barack Obama, David Plouffe
 
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« Reply #1604 on: August 08, 2012, 06:19:20 PM »

Small Business Owner Threatens To Sue Obama Over Campaign Ad
fox news ^ | 8/8/12 | jprendergast


The owner of a specialty deli at Findlay Market wants her store’s name removed from an ad President Obama used to explain his record on small business.

Ten seconds into the ad “Always,” an employee is shown from behind, pushing up the security door of Krause’s while Obama talks about owners sacrificing to make their businesses run. The owner of the store, Debra Krause-McDonnell, said she did not give permission for her business to be shown and that some customers have told her they’ll no longer shop there. She says she’s “contemplating legal action.”

(Excerpt) Read more at nation.foxnews.com ...
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« Reply #1605 on: August 08, 2012, 07:37:57 PM »

The Chicago way on a national level
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« Reply #1606 on: August 09, 2012, 06:12:21 AM »

E-mails about clean-energy loans provide new details on White House involvement
By Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens, Published: August 8
President Obama’s staff arranged for him to be personally briefed last summer on a loan program to help clean-energy companies, two months before the program was thrust into headlines by the collapse of its flagship, the solar com pany Solyndra, records show.

About the same time, then-White House Chief of Staff William Daley resolved a dispute among administration officials over another project in the program, clearing the way for a $1.4 billion loan, according to documents and sources familiar with the situation.

The documents, a series of e-mails among Energy Department staff members involved in managing the program, provide new details about the level of White House involvement in the controversial initiative. White House officials have said in the past that final decisions about which companies would receive the loan guarantees were made by career staff members at the Energy Department, not political appointees.

Administration officials said Wednesday that the e-mails show that the White House involvement was appropriate and that there was no pressure on agency officials.

That loan program, a signature piece of the Obama administration’s effort to stimulate the economy, has become a major issue in this year’s presidential campaign. Republicans have charged that the program wasted critical stimulus money meant to create jobs, spending it instead on ill-advised projects that benefited Democratic fundraisers.

The documents, provided to The Washington Post by Republican investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, show that White House aides asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu to deliver a June 27, 2011, presentation to the president on the status of the loan program. The interest in a presidential briefing came as other senior administration figures were challenging parts of the program and debating whether the Energy Department was cutting deals that gave “unjust enrichment” to private companies.

An Energy staffer explained that the president “wants to know its status” so he could be prepared when the loan program came up “at official events and political events where he interacts with [the] business community and Congressional members.” The e-mail from the department’s chief of staff, Brandon Hurlbut, went on to say that many people attending such gatherings “have some affiliation or interest in the numerous applications received that involve substantial funds.”

The documents do not indicate whether the presidential briefing took place as scheduled and, if so, whether Obama offered guidance on the program’s future.

‘A right to know’

On Wednesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.) and other Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wrote to Obama requesting a “full and complete” explanation of his involvement in the issue and seeking additional internal documents, including a list of all private individuals with whom the president met to discuss loan projects.

“The American people have a right to know the level of involvement you and other senior White House officials had in the loan guarantee program,” the committee members wrote. “Your interactions with business leaders at political events affected decisions to give billions of taxpayer dollars in loan guarantees to green energy companies.”

Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera said that the collection of internal documents provided thus far to congressional investigators “validates what we have said from day one: All decisions on loan applications were made on the merits after careful review by career officials and technical experts in the loan program.”

Rather than revealing any White House pressure to give money to certain companies, the new e-mails show that “Department of Energy officials appealed to the White House to resolve legitimate disagreements between agencies” so the applications could move forward, LaVera said.

White House spokesman Clark Stevens added that “internal debates about complex programs like this should be expected, and the White House playing a role in assisting interagency discussion surrounding that process is entirely appropriate.”

Solyndra, a Silicon Valley start-up that manufactured solar panels, received a half-billion dollar federal loan from the program before suddenly closing last August. A short time later, the FBI raided its offices as part of a criminal investigation into whether the company misled the government about its finances.

The government is expected to recover just $24 million of the $527 million that taxpayers lent the company. Republicans have accused the administration of favoring Solyndra because its largest investors were funds linked to Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser, an Obama donor.

‘Some serious gloating’

Other e-mail exchanges in the documents appear to show deep divisions between Chu and some senior Obama economic advisers over the program.

After the June 2011 meeting with Daley, Jonathan Silver, the director of the Energy Department’s loan office, celebrated “total victory” over administration opponents. He described in an e-mail to a colleague how Chu came as “close to an annihilation of the economic team’s position as you could possibly hope for.” Silver speculated that Daley had given the economic team “a fig leaf” and that the Energy Department’s victory was cause to “do some serious gloating.”

A draft of Energy Department talking points prepared for the presidential briefing highlights that the program had committed more than $34 billion and asserted that it had created or saved 68,000 jobs. Those talking points forecast little risk from the program, although Solyndra was already showing signs of distress: The department months earlier had negotiated a loan restructuring amid threats that the firm would have to liquidate for lack of operating cash.

“DOE expects that all loans will be repaid,” one presentation slide said. “When loans are repaid, the benefits — including the creation of tens of thousands of jobs — will have been obtained at little cost to taxpayers.”

Chu appeared eager to make sure that Obama heard about the disagreements over the program within the administration.

“We need to tell the President the truth, as we see it. We need to also present the other side’s point of view as fairly as possible,” the secretary wrote in an e-mail to Hurlbut.

Officials at the Treasury Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget often argued that government subsidies to clean-energy companies gave them too great of a return on investment, or an “unjust enrichment,” Chu wrote.

“Many times, they felt that a ‘better deal’’ could have been brokered by DOE and asked us to renegotiate,” he said.



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« Reply #1607 on: August 09, 2012, 02:10:41 PM »

http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/WH-1705-Docs.pdf



Obama BUSTED lying on Solyndra
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« Reply #1608 on: August 14, 2012, 05:59:15 AM »

Obama Administration Tries to Force Catholic Employer to Violate Beliefs or Pay $9,672,500 a Year
Liveaction news ^ | July 27, 2012 | Kristi Burton Brown
Posted on Tue Aug 14 2012 08:25:35 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time) by Mrs. Don-o


Hercules owners (Newland family) putting up a fight
Hercules Industries, a Colorado-based HVAC manufacturer, is a family-owned business that has been operated for 50 years. Currently, the four Newland siblings – James, Paul, William, and Christine – own the business and employ 265 people. According to CNS News, the Department of Justice is taking action to ensure that this Catholic family complies with the demands of the contraceptive mandate in ObamaCare:

"The Justice Department last week presented the Newland family of Colorado–who own Hercules Industries, a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning business–with what amounted to an ultimatum: Give up your religion or your business.

Who will win in the battle of Hercules vs. Obama?

The Newland family has taken the time to evaluate their own religious beliefs and has come to the conclusion that they are morally unable to provide contraceptives, abortifacients, abortion, or sterilization in their employee health care plan. Hercules Industries is self-insured by the Newlands. Despite the Newlands’ sincere religious beliefs, the Department of Justice insists that this Catholic family must comply with the contraceptive mandate.

The Newlands and Hercules Industries have brought a suit to stop the Obama administration from forcing them to violate their religious beliefs. The family and their business is being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund). On July 25, Matthew Bowman – an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom – argued for a preliminary injunction against the mandate.

According to the Newlands’ brief:

"They believe that according to the Catholic faith their operation of Hercules must be guided by ethical social principles and Catholic religious and moral teachings, that the adherence of their business practice according to such Catholic ethics and religious and moral teachings is a genuine calling from God, that their Catholic faith prohibits them to sever their religious beliefs from their daily business practice, and that their Catholic faith requires them to integrate the gifts of the spiritual life, the virtues, morals, and ethical social principles of Catholic teaching into their life and work.

I participated in a moot court session where Mr. Bowman gave his arguments and clearly laid out the Newlands’ case. Lest anyone think that the Newlands do not provide well for their employees, Hercules Industries’ current health care plan goes above and beyond many plans in its provisions for women. Mr. Bowman’s arguments detail the health benefits given to pregnant women, those who miscarry, and those with other reproductive-related issues. All the Newlands want is the freedom to adhere to their own religious beliefs concerning abortion, contraception, and sterilization – something that the First Amendment allows.

In order to force a person – or in many cases a corporation – to violate his or her religious beliefs, the government must have a compelling interest. The government is held to a strict scrutiny standard, and it must find the “least restrictive means” possible to enforce its rules. While the government claims that it has a compelling interest in forcing the Newlands to violate their strongly held religious beliefs, this claim rings false. In their filed brief, the Department of Justice, claims:

"Thus, it is just not true … that the burdens of the [regulations] fall on religious organizations “but almost no others.”‘

However, written into ObamaCare is an exemption for “grandfathered plans.” Any corporation with this type of health care plan will not be forced to comply with the contraceptive mandate at this time – even though such corporations will be forced to comply with other portions in the preventive care section of ObamaCare. By exempting certain companies – even without religious reasons – the Obama administration has demonstrated that there really is no compelling government interest in forcing the Newlands or other religious employers to violate their beliefs. How much sense does it really make to say, in effect, “We will not force countless employers to provide contraception, but we will force companies owned by religious people to provide it”? (Grandfathered health care plans cover millions of employees in the United States.)

In short, President Obama’s Justice Department thinks the answer is simple: comply with our demands, pay millions of dollars in fines, or quit your family business:

"Hercules Industries has ‘made no showing of a religious belief which requires that [it] engage in the [HVAC] business,’ the Justice Department said in a formal filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

In response to the Justice Department’s argument that the Newlands can either give up practicing their religion or give up owning their business, the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the family, said in a reply brief: ‘[T]o the extent the government is arguing that its mandate does not really burden the Newlands because they are free to abandon their jobs, their livelihoods, and their property so that others can take over Hercules and comply, this expulsion from business would be an extreme form of government burden.’

Employers who fail to comply with the contraceptive mandate will be forced to pay $100 per day, per employee, as a fine. (The provisions of ObamaCare are complicated, and under certain circumstances, the amount may be lessened.)

"With 265 employees, a business like the Newlands’ would need to pay the government $26,500 per day if they decided not to comply with Sebelius’s regulation and insured their employees anyway. Over 365 days that would amount to $9,672,500.

As Mr. Bowman states:

"The government shouldn’t punish people of faith for making decisions in accordance with their faith. Every American should know that a government with the power to do this to anyone can do this–and worse–to everyone. The abortion pill mandate unconstitutionally coerces the leadership of Hercules Industries to violate their religious beliefs and consciences under the threat of heavy fines and penalties. That is simply not acceptable in America.
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« Reply #1609 on: August 14, 2012, 06:29:23 AM »

This is just business as usual with the Chicago Political machine, I put out the warning, no one wants Chicago politics on a national level.
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« Reply #1610 on: August 17, 2012, 11:41:25 AM »

http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/17/bidens-good-friend-donor-receives-20m-federal-loan




Unreal.   

Kudos to Howard for finding this.   

Outrageous 
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« Reply #1611 on: August 19, 2012, 03:53:29 AM »

As ATP Oil Files For Bankruptcy, CEO Blames Obama For Company's Collapse
Forbes ^ | 8/18/2012 | Christopher Helman
Posted on August 18, 2012 3:35:31 PM EDT by mojito

When I get Paul Bulmahn on the phone rumors are swirling that he’s just days from putting his company, ATP Oil & Gas, into Chapter 11. He can’t confirm it yet, but he wants to make one thing perfectly clear: If it does come to bankruptcy (which it did on August 17) it isn’t his fault. The founder and chairman of publicly traded ATP (Nasdaq:ATPG), Bulmahn wants the world to know that the Obama Administration—and its illegal ban on deepwater drilling in the wake of the BP disaster—is to blame for the implosion of his company. Not him.

“It is all directly attributable to what the government did to us,” he rails. “This Administration has gone out of its way to create problems for my company, the company that I formed from scratch.” He’s more than angry. Bulmahn, 68, has already brought suit against the U.S. government seeking damages ($68 million to start with) for the 2010 moratorium that shut down deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico for the better part of a year. In an earlier case brought by ATP and rig company Ensco, Federal District Judge Martin Feldman ruled in May 2011 that the feds “acted unlawfully by unreasonably delaying action” on drilling permit applications. Still, ATP has a long, winding road to any hope of recovering damages from the government (which says it’s protected from claims by sovereign immunity).

That’s proving disastrous for Bulmahn. While hundreds of companies with operations in the gulf were affected by the government’s decision, perhaps no other was as hard hit as ATP—or as vulnerable.

(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...
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« Reply #1612 on: August 20, 2012, 06:06:26 AM »

Former Biden Staffer's New Book Suggests The Justice Department Was Hardly Thinking About Going After Wall Street
Linette Lopez|12 minutes ago|3|

 




The Biggest Names In The Hedge Fund World Have Officially Gone Sour On Financials
 
A former staffer for Vice President Joe Biden and ex-Senator Ted Kauffman (D-DE) is out with a new book called 'The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins,' about how the D.C. power structure allowed Wall Street to emerge from the financial crisis unscathed.
 
The staffer's name is Jeff Connaughton, and back in 2009 (after working as a D.C. lobbyist as well as for Biden) he joined Ted Kauffman in Delaware where Kauffman was filling Joe Biden's vacant Senate seat.
 
Connaughton's book is the story of how he Kauffman watched everyone in Washington from the Obama administration to the SEC back down from a fight with Wall Street banks.
 
Or, as the book's website describes:
 
It’s the story of a twenty-month struggle to hold Wall Street executives accountable for securities fraud, to stop stock manipulation by high-frequency traders, and to break up too-big-to-fail megabanks. In this book, we experience a US senator’s vigorous crusade—side-by-side with his most trusted advisor—against Wall Street’s irresponsible risk-taking that destabilized the American economy.
 
Check out this excerpt from the book about Connaughton's effort to work with the Justice Department on forming a strategy for charging individuals in the financial industry with fraud (h/t Politico's Morning Money).
 
"In the summer of 2009, we asked Lanny Breuer, by then confirmed by the Senate as the new assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division, for a meeting. It was September before Breuer and his top team of fraud-enforcement advisors could see us. ... Ted started by saying he appreciated all the effort that he knew was under way, but that Chairman Leahy had asked him to chair an oversight hearing, which would create a public forum for learning about the strategy and direction of the Justice Department's and FBI's investigative work.
 
This was news to Breuer and the other Justice Department lawyers, and it certainly got their attention. In the chitchat prior to the meeting, Breuer had mentioned that he'd done a series of speeches to the white collar bar and that he was going to Romania (where former Biden staffer Mark Gitenstein serves as ambassador) to give a speech. I remember wondering: "What is he doing spending all his time on a speech tour?"
 
Sounds like the DOJ was really pumped to get a jump on the whole thing.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-connaughton-the-payoff-justice-department-and-wall-street-2012-8#ixzz245iJdEin

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« Reply #1613 on: August 20, 2012, 07:24:29 PM »

Obama Knocks Romney for Not Releasing Medical Records, Hasn't Disclosed His Own
Breitbart ^
Posted on August 20, 2012 9:48:00 PM EDT by chessplayer

"This was brilliant timing on the president's part. All last week the Romney campaign was on offense and Obama was dealing with Vice President Race-Baiter and a campaign that had gotten so vicious it had finally backfired. But with the media all excited and eager to use GOP senate candidate Todd Akin's rape comments to damage the Romney-Ryan ticket and the GOP as a whole, Obama picked the perfect time to come before the White House press corps."

"First off, by surprising the media, Obama knew the few good ones in there wouldn't be as ready to hit him with tough questions as they would with some notice. Secondly, Obama knew that he would be asked about Akin and that his response would be what got all the media attention afterwards --"

"The President was asked about Akin, his negative campaign and the economy, but it was NBC's Chuck Todd who did Obama's bidding and lobbed a sweet softball right over the plate about Romney's taxes. This is when things got bizarre, because this is when Obama said something inadvertently hilarious. Yes, the least vetted president in the history of our great republic said that president's should be "open books," and then specifically cited tax returns and medical records."

While Obama has released a decade or so worth of tax returns, otherwise, he is the furthest thing from an "open book" when it comes to his medical records -- which he refuses to release. And yet, there stood Obama unchallenged by the lapdog media as he implied he's an "open book" about those very same medical records. And these records are important and relevant, especially in light of the fact that Obama is a former smoker (so we're told) and an admitted illegal drug abuser (including cocaine).

(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...
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« Reply #1614 on: August 21, 2012, 08:26:18 PM »

Click here to print.
Jarrett Towers
White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett’s real-estate investment jumped in value between 2010 and 2011, documents show

President Obama with Valerie Jarrett
BY: Andrew Stiles
August 21, 2012 5:00 am

Senior White House adviser and long-time Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett’s role in a number of controversial Chicago housing developments has garnered her investments worth millions of dollars while highlighting the administration’s extensive business ties to presidential donors.

Before joining the Obama administration in 2009, Jarrett was president and chief executive officer of the Habitat Company, a real estate development firm founded by major Democratic donor Daniel Levin. Before that, she served three years as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development under Mayor Richard Daley.

Jarrett currently owns an 11-percent equity interest in Kingsbury Plaza, a 46-story luxury apartment complex developed by Habitat between 2005 and 2007 at a cost of more than $100 million.

She valued the investment at between $1 million and $5 million on her 2011 financial disclosure form, up from $250,001 in 2010. A Jarrett spokesman told the Washington Times that the investment was “a direct result of her 13 years working for Habitat.”

Cook County records show the Kingsbury property is worth around $27.2 million, but thanks to a series of legal appeals beginning in 2003, the land and building are assessed at a much lower value for tax purposes. Since 2008, the property has been designated a “special commercial structure” and is taxed at a value of just $6.8 million, or 25 percent of the actual value.

Asked how such a property could enjoy such a low taxable value, an official with the Cook County Assessor’s Office told the Free Beacon that the property’s owners “must have good attorneys.”

In addition to Jarrett’s investment through her former employer, she received deferred compensation of more than $556,000 in January 2009, on top of her $302,000 salary the previous year.

Levin, the firm’s founder, has close ties to the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. Levin and his wife, Fay Hartog Levin, are long-time acquaintances of the president’s, and have personally donated nearly $1 million to Democratic candidates and committees since 1989, including about $25,000 each to Obama.

In 2009, President Obama appointed Hartog Levin ambassador to the Netherlands, a move that drew criticism from government accountability advocates. The president has a history of awarding top donors and fundraisers with ambassadorships and other administrations posts.

The Levins each hold personal stakes in the Kingsbury development worth at least $1 million as of 2011.

Jarrett’s involvement in Chicago real estate development between 1992 and 2009 was marred with controversy, much of which centered on Habitat’s role as the sole developer for “family public housing,” a status granted under a district court ruling in 1987.

Under Jarrett’s leadership, Habitat oversaw the development of a number of public housing projects, one of which, in the Cabrini Green neighborhood, was dubbed a “national symbol of urban despair.” Others became so run-down the city had to ask the federal government to intervene.

A 2003 Harvard Law Review article cited the decline of the Cabrini Green development as an embodiment of the negative consequence associated with the “privatization of public housing.”

“They are rapidly displacing poor people, and these companies are profiting from this displacement,” Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle of Southside Together Organizing for Power, a Chicago community organization, told the Boston Globe in 2008.

Habitat and the Chicago Housing Authority in 2000 announced an ambitious, multi-million dollar “Plan for Transformation” in an effort to revitalize the city’s decrepit housing projects. The plan involved the establishment of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts, an accounting method through which state and local governments would subsidize redevelopment projects.

Such financing often leads to an increase in property values in surrounding areas, benefitting developers such as Habitat. The Kingsbury property in which Jarrett owns a stake lies just outside a TIF district.

The Cabrini Green neighborhood in 1997 was designated a “blighted” area, a portion of which was established as a TIF district. Thousands of families were displaced and many relocated to unsafe, unfinished housing projects elsewhere in the city. Experts questioned whether redevelopment resulted in a net benefit for the city.

The city’s transformation plan included an effort to establish a separate TIF district just south of Cabrini Green in the Kingsbury neighborhood, a relatively well-off area that did not initially meet the Chicago Community Development Commission’s (CCDC) requirements for TIF status.

The city ultimately approved the project on the grounds that the neighborhood was a “conservation area” and argued that its redevelopment would help revitalize the blighted Cabrini Green area.

The CCDC held a public hearing on February 29, 2000, regarding the Kingsbury development project, but it is unclear if Jarrett or other Habitat executives testified in favor of granting TIF status.

The transcripts of such hearings are typically turned over the Chicago Municipal Library as a matter of public record. The transcript from that particular hearing, however, was never provided. A CCDC representative told the Free Beacon the document was unavailable but could be requested through the Freedom of Information Act.

The White House and the Habitat Company did not return requests for comment.
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« Reply #1615 on: August 23, 2012, 06:17:20 AM »

AP Exclusive: Energy loan watchdog an Obama donor

By STEPHEN BRAUN
Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A veteran Wall Street executive who performed an independent review that exonerated the Obama administration's program of loans to energy companies contributed $52,500 to re-elect President Barack Obama in the months since completing his work, according to an Associated Press review of campaign records. The executive defended the integrity of his conclusions and said he decided to donate to Obama after his work was finished.

The campaign contributions to Obama started just weeks after Herbert M. Allison Jr., in congressional testimony in March, minimized concerns that the Energy Department was at high risk in more than $23 billion in federal loans awarded to green energy firms. Two weeks later, Allison began giving to the Obama campaign. His contributions to Obama and the Democratic National Committee totaled $52,500 by last month. Allison previously was the former head of the government's mass purchase of toxic Wall Street assets.

Allison did not make any Obama donations during his four-month review of Energy Department loans, and he has a long history of working with and giving money to both political parties. However, Republican Party officials and congressional critics of the energy loans said Allison's donations to Obama raise doubts about his objectivity and highlight his decision not to assess multimillion-dollar loans to two companies that later went into bankruptcy - the troubled Solyndra solar panel company and Beacon Power, an energy storage firm.

Allison's report, completed in February and touted by the White House, acknowledged that the Energy Department could lose as much as $3 billion in loans, but it concluded that was far less than the $10 billion set aside by Congress for high-risk companies. The review did not assess the two bankrupt firms because those loans were no longer current. Allison told Congress that "DOE has negotiated protections in the loan agreements that enable it to cut off further funding and to demand more credit protection if projects do not meet targets." He also urged the Energy Department to toughen its oversight.

Allison defended the integrity of his review in an interview with The Associated Press. He said that he did not make the decision to back a presidential candidate until after he had finished his work and that his selection was approved by Energy Department lawyers before he began his review last October to "ensure there was no hint of bias or conflict of interest."

"I was on the record with the White House that this had to be completely independent review and they agreed," he said Wednesday in a telephone interview from his home in Westport, Conn. "It didn't hew to anybody's political suasion, I think, and it had to be fully factual or it wouldn't be credible."

Allison said he made his decision to support Obama after he saw "his administration in action and decided that I believe broadly in the things he's trying to accomplish."

Allison gave $2,500 to the Obama campaign on March 29, two weeks after he testified to the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee about his review. In May, he gave $15,000 to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee that supports both the president's re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Allison gave the same amount to the fund again in June and then $20,000 more in July.

Allison has donated money to both parties, but his gifts in the past have tended to be much smaller than his current contributions, typically no more than $1,000 or $2,000, according to Federal Election Commission records. Allison explained his larger donations to the Obama campaign by saying "there's a hell of a lot more money in politics today than in years past and I decided I could go this route."

Allison has given to GOP figures such as Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and to Democrats such as Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York and former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey. Allison's presidential preferences have been mostly Republicans - Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas. He also gave $2,300 to Obama in 2008, a year before Obama appointed Allison as an assistant treasury secretary.

The White House and the Obama campaign defended Allison, saying his donations did not taint his work as independent reviewer of the loans program. They pointed to his repeated hiring over the past two decades by Republican presidential administrations and GOP campaigns as justification that Allison had the independence to oversee troubled government programs.

"Mr. Allison was selected to do this study because of his relevant expertise and he is a public servant widely respected by Democrats and Republicans alike," said Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman. Schultz added that Allison's "analysis of the DOE loan portfolio was thorough and reliable as evident by additional independent reports affirming his findings." The Obama campaign said, "Having completed an independent assignment does not cost him his right to continue participating in the political progress on behalf of many candidates, as he has in the past."

A former Merrill Lynch executive, Allison worked for several Republican administrations and earned a reputation for tackling troubled federal programs. During McCain's failed 2000 presidential run, he served as national finance chairman and was rumored to be McCain's choice to become treasury secretary if he had won.

Allison was named by President George W. Bush to head Fannie Mae after the quasi-government home lending agency was placed in conservatorship in 2008 following the Wall Street collapse. A year later, Obama named Allison as an assistant treasury secretary to oversee the Troubled Asset Relief Program that Bush had created to stabilize Wall Street banks and investment houses reeling with toxic debt.

During his work at the Treasury Department, Allison was among top officials who crossed swords with TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky, who accused the department of failing to properly track government bailout money given to banks and investment houses. Barofsky declined to comment about his dealings with Allison.

Allison left the Treasury Department in 2010 but returned last year to head up the review of energy loans. The White House agreed to the review in the wake of mounting Republican criticism after Solyndra, a California firm, went belly up. The bankruptcy cost U.S. taxpayers $528 million in lost loans.

Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who chairs the House Energy Committee's oversight subcommittee, said Allison's donations to the Obama campaign back up GOP warnings this year that the White House review was suspect. Stearns said Allison's "financial support for the Obama campaign undermines (his) credibility and shows once again that the president did not want a careful, independent review of his risky green jobs scheme."

Allison's role as a large Obama donor "raises serious questions about an administration that puts campaign cash before taxpayer money," said Joe Pounder, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.

Allison declined to say whether he will keep donating to Obama. "Next time around," he said, "I might support a Republican."

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« Reply #1616 on: August 24, 2012, 07:13:39 AM »

Barack Obama asks eurozone to keep Greece in until after election day

US officials are worried that if Greece exits the eurozone, it will damage President's election hopes


Oliver Wright

Friday, 24 August 2012



The Obama administration will pressure European governments not to let Greece fall out of the eurozone before November's Presidential elections, British Government sources have suggested.

Representatives from the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission are due to arrive in Athens next month to assess Greece's reform efforts.

They are expected to report in time for an 8 October meeting of eurozone finance ministers which will decide on whether to disburse Greece's next €31bn aid tranche, promised under the terms of the bailout for the country.

American officials are understood to be worried that if they decide Greece has not done enough to meet its deficit targets and withhold the money, it would automatically trigger Greece's exit from the eurozone weeks before the Presidential election on 6 November.

They are urging eurozone Governments to hold off from taking any drastic action before then – fearing that the resulting market destabilisation could damage President Obama's re-election prospects. European leaders are thought to be sympathetic to the lobbying fearing that, under pressure from his party lin Congress, Mitt Romney would be a more isolationist president than Mr Obama.

The President discussed the eurozone crisis with David Cameron during a conference call on Wednesday and both welcomed statements by the European Central Bank that it was "standing firmly behind the euro".

The ECB is expected to present a plan in the next few weeks to help indebted countries like Spain and Italy by buying their government bonds.

Today, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will travel to Berlin to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel, and to France tomorrow for talks with President François Hollande. He is asking that Greece be given more time to meet its deficit targets and implement its reforms as its economy is struggling through a fifth year of recession.

But Germany's Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, said it was only months since creditors drew up a second bailout package and agreed on a massive debt write-down for Greece.

Britain is understood to have pressed the Germans to ensure that if eurozone leaders decide Greece's position is unsustainable the financial "firewall" around Spain and Italy is made stronger. Officials are worried that if Greece was to exit the eurozone, the move could result in dramatic increases in the cost of debt for other weaker eurozone members – making their financial situation unsustainable.
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« Reply #1617 on: August 25, 2012, 04:34:25 AM »

Here’s the book-jacket teaser: A major U.S. environmental disaster strikes. As Coast Guard and other heroes struggle to contain the unprecedented damage, a different scene unfolds in a dimly lit conference room in Washington. A small group of high-ranking political hacks and overzealous ideologues see an opportunity to manipulate the situation to advance their agenda. They doctor a key report on the disaster by experts in order to justify shutting down all exploration and new production. They explain the sweeping decision as something sound science requires.

Several weeks later, members of Congress and a few in the media dig deeper into the alleged science behind bringing an entire industry to a screeching halt. That’s when the cover-up begins.

A catchy political thriller? If only it were fiction. Instead, it’s what seems to have happened in the Obama administration following the BP disaster.

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And as a U.S. senator from Louisiana, I suffered through seeing it firsthand.

Some aspects of the 30-day experts’ report seemed suspect to me from the beginning. So I called for an inspector general to investigate the Obama administration’s claim that science supported the decision to shut down the Gulf. That investigation revealed that high-ranking officials in the Department of the Interior and the White House inappropriately manipulated the 30-day experts’ report to justify the offshore drilling moratorium — all in violation of the Information Quality Act and contrary to sound science.

On June 21, 2010, new reports revealed that the scientists in question in fact opposed the moratorium. They were shocked that their report was doctored to justify it. They even actively lobbied Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to soften the ban.

However, on Nov. 10, 2010, Mary Kendall, the inspector general for the Interior Department investigation, concluded that Interior officials were really only guilty of sloppy editing. She determined that Interior’s moving some words around in the experts’ report was more akin to a clerical error, and that Interior Secretary Salazar had already apologized for that.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. In May 2011, a government whistleblower came forward. He alleged that Kendall in fact colluded with Interior officials during her “independent” investigation. And then, after exploring this claim, a congressional committee unveiled specific materials that showed that Kendall had actually attended meetings in which Interior officials reviewed working drafts of the very same report she later was tasked with investigating — a clear conflict which Kendall never revealed.

Once confronted with this startling conflict, Kendall confirmed her attendance in those meetings to USA Today, claiming she “was an active listener” but not an “active participant in these meetings.”

As Mark Twain once famously said: “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Unfortunately, it can also have serious, real-world consequences, unlike a cleverly written political thriller.

The biggest consequence in this case is that major energy exploration and new production in the Gulf of Mexico was basically turned off for more than six months. Many thousands of workers directly involved in that work were laid off. Many more in oilfield service and related support businesses lost their jobs and livelihoods or were forced to split from their families and seek work overseas. Eleven massive deepwater rigs left the Gulf of Mexico for redeployment in Brazil, Africa, even Australia. Other rigs that were headed to the Gulf turned away and shallow-water rigs were idled. The economic hit to my state of Louisiana was actually bigger than that of the recent recession.

In light of all of this, I’ve joined with other Senate colleagues from the Gulf region in calling for an independent Integrity Committee to conduct a thorough and accurate investigation and get to the bottom of the apparent inspector general cover-up. They are actively reviewing the matter now.

It’s pretty outrageous that politics seem to have tempered significantly the inspector general’s investigation. And that politics and ideology, not sound science, is what led to the unprecedented moratorium decision in the first place.

It would all make for one heck of a political thriller. If only it were fiction.

David Vitter (R) is the junior senator from Louisiana. His committee posts include the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.
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« Reply #1618 on: August 25, 2012, 08:48:20 AM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA3ff8bjiZ8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA3ff8bjiZ8</a>

One of the women in the Obama campaign's new video of Republicans supporting the president because of GOP positions on women's rights appears not to be a Republican at all.

Maria Ciano who is featured in the web video has been a registered Democrat since October 2006 according to voter registration records.

"People like me and my family have realized that the Republican Party once was inline with our views, but are no longer," the Colorado resident says in the video.

The video is one component of a larger Obama campaign push on women in light of the recent controversy surrounding Todd Akin.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/zekejmiller/republican-in-obama-ad-is-a-democrat

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« Reply #1619 on: August 25, 2012, 10:29:37 AM »

Ever think about getting a job?

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« Reply #1620 on: August 25, 2012, 10:34:08 AM »

Busted: “Republican” woman in Obama ad has been a registered Democrat since 2006
Hot Air ^ | 25 Aug 2012 | Ed Morrissey
Posted on August 25, 2012 1:28:13 PM EDT by mandaladon

Via Drudge, the inevitable finish for an ad for a President whose track record on vetting and research has been all too vividly featured in our Obamateurism series. Earlier this week, Team Obama stepped up its War On Wimminses strategy with this ad, featuring women who identify as Republican but who intend to vote for Barack Obama in 2012. However, as the old Sesame Street song used to go, at least one of these women are not like the other:

Maria Ciano who is featured in the web video has been a registered Democrat since October 2006 according to voter registration records.

“People like me and my family have realized that the Republican Party once was inline with our views, but are no longer,” the Colorado resident says in the video.

It’s certainly possible that Ms. Ciano had at one time been Republican. Her conversion to Democrat had nothing to do with Mitt Romney, or even Barack Obama, however. And it’s difficult to ascertain exactly what about Romney would have driven the rest of them off, either. One woman cites Romney’s desire to see Roe overturned, as if she’s never heard that argument in the four decades that Republicans have been making it. George W. Bush made it just as much of an issue when running for President, if not more; every Republican nominee for President since Reagan has taken that position, as have most of the candidates who failed to get the nomination. This must be one of the most low-information groups of voters ever featured in a national campaign.

(Excerpt) Read more at hotair.com ...
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« Reply #1621 on: August 25, 2012, 04:27:50 PM »

President Barack Obama recently signed an executive order hiring race-sensitive bureaucrats to hold meetings and mandate racial discipline quotas.


The order charges his new racial justice team, in part, with "promoting a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools."  In plain English, that means that if different races have different incidences of disciplinary action, those of a favored race who act worse will be punished less, or those of a disfavored race who act better will be punished more, or both.

It's true that a higher percentage of black students than white students receive school discipline such as suspensions or expulsion.  A recent, representative study of nearly half the country's school districts found that 17.3 percent of black students were suspended in 2009-10, whereas 4.7 percent of whites and 7.3 percent of Latinos were.  Only 2.1 percent of Asians were suspended that year.  The black graduation rate is 64 percent.  For whites, it's 82 percent, and for Asians, it's 92 percent.

Given these and similar statistics on practically every measure of academic success and self-discipline, the president wants to require schools to punish equal proportions of white and black students, regardless of how individual students behave.  That will mean overlooking infractions by black students or punishing more white students for pettier infractions.
Punishing students differently based on skin color -- that's not racist?
The president's reasoning is utterly incoherent: the superior performance of Asian students must indicate that schools are racist against whites, according to his thinking.  Requiring equal discipline outcomes as the president desires would punish good behavior by white, Asian, and Latino students and reward bad behavior by black students.  That is just a horrific moral example, teaching students that rewards and punishment should be dictated by race, which you cannot control, instead of behavior, which you can.
The president's policies would perpetuate a victim mentality among minority students -- and such a mindset victimizes no one more than those who hold it.  A person who believes that her unhappiness is someone else's fault will be demoralized or motivated to act out against those she thinks have oppressed her, rather than inspired to rise above her circumstances.
That will accelerate the cycle of futile violence and lack of academic ambition already roiling urban schools.  Black high school students are 60 percent more likely than whites, and more than twice as likely as Asians, to be in a physical fight on school property, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC lists risk factors for violent behavior, including family instability, poor self-control, antisocial beliefs and attitudes (such as, perhaps, "everyone's out to get me because of my race"), low parental education and income, low parental involvement, and poor academic performance.

All these behaviors also correlate with something more prevalent among blacks than any other major U.S. group: single motherhood.  Two-thirds of black children live with a lone parent.  Children of single mothers are more likely to drop out of school, never attend college, and learn less.  They are more likely to be aggressive, depressed, and distressed.  These children have been irrevocably harmed by their own parents, not by school discipline policies.

Eliminating racial disparities requires race-blindness so all people will rise on their own merits and know they can do so, not giving children a free ride for failure.  The real tragedy is that while the president attempts to mandate injustice through race-based school discipline quotas, he refuses to address black Americans about what gives their children the best chance at a good life: an intact family.

Joy Pullmann is managing editor of School Reform News and a research fellow in education at The Heartland Institute.
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« Reply #1622 on: August 26, 2012, 02:53:28 PM »

Obama Administration Agrees To Release 4 Taliban Leaders
NEWSMAX ^ | Sunday, 26 Aug 2012 02:47 | Patrick Hobin





The Obama administration has tentatively agreed to release four Taliban leaders from Guantanamo prison and allow them to resettle in Afghanistan, Paul Sperry of the Hoover Institution wrote in the New York Post. Sperry, the author of the book “Infiltration,” said that Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants to free some top Taliban commanders who led deadly attacks on American troops when the United States invaded Afghanistan after 9/11. Among the prisoners are some of the “most dangerous detainees remaining at Gitmo,” and include a former Taliban deputy intelligence chief, former interior minister, defense chief and military commander, Sperry wrote. “Shockingly, the Obama administration has tentatively agreed to release the four suspected terrorists if Karzai can certify they no longer pose a threat,” he said. “They must disavow terrorism and any allegiance to al-Qaida.” Karzai claims his government obtained such assurances in a recent trip to Gitmo, according to Sperry. He noted that a recent intelligence report found that more than one in four of the 600 former Guantanamo detainees rejoined the jihad. The agreement comes as there appears to be rampant infiltration of Taliban insurgents in the Afghan national army and police, he wrote. The Obama administration agreed to the deals, according to Sperry, in order to help stabilize Afghanistan ahead of the 2014 withdrawal of troops. “They also help Obama fulfill his 2008 campaign pledge to empty and shutter Gitmo,” he wrote. “Antiwar activists among his base are upset he’s freed just 70 detainees, leaving 168. The White House last month confirmed the president still plans on closing the prison camp.”


(Excerpt) Read more at newsmax.com ...
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« Reply #1623 on: August 26, 2012, 07:15:17 PM »

http://www.soopermexican.com/2012/08/26/obama-remembers-neil-armstrong-with-a-big-picture-of-himself



Disgusting.   
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« Reply #1624 on: August 27, 2012, 08:51:52 AM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_2s4tob5U8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_2s4tob5U8</a>
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