White House indicates Sebelius won't be punished over Hatch Act violation
fox news ^ | 9/13/2012 | staff
Posted on September 13, 2012 10:23:54 PM EDT by tobyhill
The White House indicated that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius would probably not be punished, after federal investigators determined she had violated the law when she campaigned earlier this year for President Obama.
Sebelius broke the law by making "extemporaneous partisan remarks" during a speech in February at a Human Rights Campaign Event in Charlotte, N.C., according to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC). She made the comments in the city that would later host the Democratic National Convention.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz explained in a statement that the administration has already taken action on the matter, though, putting Sebelius through training and making sure taxpayers were reimbursed.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
September 14, 2012
Obama Is a Spokesmodel for Tyranny
By Stella Paul
Barack Obama is not a real president, though he does play one on TV. So what is he? It's my contention that the bizarre creature currently residing in the White House is an attractive spokesmodel for our destruction, sponsored by America's mortal foes.
The time for politely mincing words is over. After the Democrats booed God and Jerusalem at their national convention; after Obama refused to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as Israel faces nuclear destruction; after Obama enthroned the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Middle East and then apologized for America when our embassies were fatally attacked there on 9/11 -- well, really, what's the point of making nice?
Forget calling Obama "incompetent." This tiresome meme presupposes that Obama wants to do what's right for America but doesn't know how. Does anyone honestly believe that anymore?
Yes, he's incompetent, in that he's a fairly unimpressive bloke with no skills, imagination, or ability to learn, who couldn't run a third-rate laundromat.
But so what? His sponsors didn't install him for his competence. They installed him so that he could strut on the runways of the world, showing off his fashionable skin color and perfectly creased pants, while babbling whatever useful venom they put on his teleprompter.
As the body of America's Libyan ambassador was dragged through the streets and three other American embassy workers lay dead, we learned that Obama attended only 38% of his intelligence briefings in 2012. In fact, he didn't attend a single intelligence briefing in the week preceding 9/11. So ask yourself: would the outcome be any different if he had?
Of course not. Does L'Oréal spokesmodel Beyoncé attend board meetings in which the location of new factories or other nitty-gritty corporate business is decided? Why should she? Her job is to go out there and look good and sell the brand.
And thus our Spokesmodel-in-Chief, who found no opening in his schedule to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu, somehow made the time to appear on the 9/11 radio show of "The Pimp with a Limp," fly to Las Vegas, and clown around with David Letterman. Next up is a fundraiser at the 40/40 Club in Manhattan with fellow spokesmodel Beyoncé, and a whirlwind of similar brand-promoting frippery, as the world burns.
If you haven't figured out the nature of the brand that Obama is promoting, the Democrats helpfully informed us in their opening convention video: "Thegovernment is the only thing we all belong to." We all belong to the government, and the government is Obama -- so we all belong to Obama, that exciting celebrity with the big smile who loves to give us free stuff. And now that we've been docilely collectivized, our celebrity friend, "President Obama," can deliver us into submission at the hands of those who despise us.
And thus, "President Obama" will have "more flexibility" to surrender to the Russians, whose warships he displayed at his convention, after his election. And when rabid Islamists storm American embassies, and sodomize and murder an American ambassador, the reaction of "President Obama's" White House is to abjectly apologize to the protestors for America's right to free speech. Meanwhile, "President Obama" weakens and undermines America's military, leaving us ever more vulnerable in an increasingly chaotic world.
Who is this "President Obama" who puts such an appealing face on our destruction? Just a few weeks before the election, we still don't really know. Two gripping documentaries, 2016 and Dreams From My Real Father, portray different aspects of his background, exposing the America-hating fervor of his various mentors.
A blockbuster hit, 2016 examines the anti-colonial politics of his purported father, the Harvard-educated Kenyan governmental economist, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. With its glossy production values brought to you by Schindler's List producer Gerald Molen, 2016 takes us on a fast-paced tour of Obama Sr.'s worldview, in which villainous America and the West must be humbled for deliberately ravaging the third world. Along the way, we meet freedom-hating influences on "President Obama," including terrorist emeritus Bill Ayers, leading Israel-basher Professor Edward Said, and card-carrying Communist agitator Frank Marshall Davis.
It's Frank Marshall Davis who takes center stage in Joel Gilbert's fascinating documentary, Dreams From My Real Father. Gilbert contends that Davis was Obama's biological father and deploys some compelling physical and circumstantial evidence to make his point. Even Obama's pre-presidential nose job can't mask the physical resemblance of the two men, and Frank Marshall Davis's side job as a pornographer allowed him access to Obama's teen mother, as Gilbert's photo cache dismayingly proves.
But whoever spawned "President Obama," the end result is the empty, angry Spokesmodel-in-Chief, whose sponsors now hold our fate in their hands. While Obama preens and prances around the country, the real workers continue their destruction of our national security and economy, strangling us with a $16-trillion debt and another threatened downgrade. The Spokesmodel saw no need to attend any job council meetings as 23 million Americans suffered without work; those jobs could be destroyed without any personal input from him.
Now the Spokesmodel's contract is up for renewal, and like all successful celebrities, he's demanding we pay a higher price for his services. If he wins, many Americans may be forced to pay the ultimate price.
Write Stella Paul at Stellapundit@aol.com
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/09/obama_is_a_spokesmodel_for_tyranny.html#ixzz26SwA9U1B
Feds ignore rules and use stimulus cash to buy Chinese solar panels
By Jim McElhatton
The Washington Times
Monday, September 17, 2012
Government officials blame unfair competition from China for the collapse of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, but such concerns didn’t stop the federal government from breaking stimulus program rules to use Chinese solar panels atop a federal building housing the offices of a senator, congressman and several agencies.
Even the contractor questioned whether Chinese-made panels could be used under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus program that mandated use of U.S.-made products. His query in early 2010 was dismissed and the General Services Administration moved forward with using the Chinese panels on the Sen. Paul Simon Federal Building in Carbondale, Ill., records show.
Questions about the panels, which were assembled overseas, were raised in a four-page advisory memo sent by the inspector general to the GSA in the summer of 2011, but the findings take on added significance as government officials increasingly place blame on Chinese subsidies for troubles in the U.S. solar market.
Since last summer, Solyndra LLC and another solar company, Abound Solar, have filed for bankruptcy despite receiving generous federal loan guarantees. After both bankruptcies, government officials were quick to place blame on subsidies from China that allowed foreign solar panel manufactures to sell their products below cost, squeezing U.S. solar companies.
Meanwhile, the contractor on the Illinois building project, J.R. Conkey & Associates, initially questioned GSA officials on whether solar panels assembled in China could be used under the stimulus program, but a procurement officer told the company to proceed, according to records.
“We did what we were told to do by the federal government,” Jim Conkey, the company’s president, said Monday.
According to the inspector general’s memo, Conkey officials asked the GSA contracting official “whether non-ARRA [Recovery Act] compliant solar panels could be used” on Feb. 16, 2010, before the installation of the panels.
“The contracting officer directed Conkey to ‘proceed with the panels specified in the schedule contract since they have already been determined as satisfying all applicable contract clauses including the ARRA Buy American Act requirement,’ ” the memo stated.
The inspector general’s memo said the overall roof work was performed under a $1.8 million task order awarded to J.R. Conkey & Associates, though Mr. Conkey said a portion of the project involving stimulus funding for the panels at issue involved about $200,000.
Dan Cruz, a GSA spokesman, said an agency review found no other instances of GSA projects using solar panels made outside of the U.S.
In a written response to the inspector general last year, officials also disagreed with several aspects of the review. The Federal Acquisition Service, an arm of the GSA, said the contract to J.R. Conkey was for a “complex roof mounted electrical grid system” and that the panel in question — the SP205 — was “one component of this overall system.”
“Here, the panels themselves are not a contract item” the service’s response stated. “Rather, they are an important part of a solar system, but are integrated along with an inverter, tubes and other components into a system.”
And for purchases of such systems, the Trade Agreements Act, not the Buy America Act, applies, according to Federal Acquisition Service officials, who added that only the Bureau of Customs, now a part of the Department of Homeland Security, could make a determination of [Trade Agreements Act] compliance.
Still, the inspector general’s memo stated that the panels violated the provisions of the stimulus program, according to the memo.
“The photovoltaic panels installed were assembled in and shipped from China,” the memo stated. “Under the ARRA, the Chinese panels cannot be purchased with ARRA funds.”
Read more: Feds ignore rules and use stimulus cash to buy Chinese solar panels - Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/17/lambasted-chinese-solar-panels-placed-on-governmen/#ixzz26qpCWeYD
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Report: Top Obama Bundlers Bag Millions in Taxpayer Money
by Wynton Hall
17 Sep 2012
An investigation by the Government Accountability Institute found that more than half of the most politically active 50 campaign bundlers for President Obama were either appointed to a presidential council, committee, board, or other White House post. Many bundlers’ businesses or relatives' businesses also received millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded federal contracts, grants, loans, or other crony perks.
In all, the top 50 bundlers received three council appointments, one ambassadorship, two committee appointments, and a whopping 20 State Dinner invitations. Two bundlers were also placed on a presidential board, and another two were picked for other White House posts.
Bundling campaign donations for Mr. Obama can produce a lucrative return on “investment” in the form of crony deals. For example, one of the president’s biggest bundlers, Penny Pritzker, is the national co-chair of Obama for America 2012 and was a member of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Mrs. Pritzker has bundled at least $904,957 for Mr. Obama. A former board member of the Marmon Group, the Pritzker family owns as much as 40% of Marmon while Berkshire Hathaway owns the rest. Marmon and Berkshire own IMPulse, a transit-manufacturing firm, located in Mount Olive, North Carolina. IMPulse received or directed numerous construction projects that received millions in taxpayer-funded stimulus money. Among others, those projects include:
•A $485.8 million contract that was awarded for the extension of the Metro Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa
•A San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) infrastructure project worth $67 million in ARRA funds
•The Portland streetcar eastside loop which received $75 million in funds
The value of the projects that IMPulse Manufacturing received total nearly $1 billion in American Recovery Reinvestment Act funding.
In 2010 testimony before the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure on the “Recovery Act: Progress Report for Highway, Transit, and Wastewater Infrastructure Formula Investments," Jeffery Wharton, president of IMPulse Manufacturing, LLC explained:
IMPulse is a Marmon Group / Berkshire Hathaway Company. We are a member of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and I serve on the APTA Board of Directors, but my testimony today is on behalf of my company.
I am pleased to report that IMPulse’s new project business has grown 35% in 2009 and expected to grow at least another 10% to 15% in 2010.I do not believe my business would have survived without the investment in public transportation by way of the ARRA stimulus funding. In 2009, ARRA partially funded projects accounted for 46% of my total sales. In 2010, I anticipate the ARRA type funded projects will account for 62% of my total sales.
What's more, Nicholas Pritzker is chairman of the board and senior development adviser of the Pritzker family-owned Hyatt Hotels Corp. He invested an unspecified amount in Tesla Motors, the electric car company that received a $465 million interest-bearing loan from the DOE.
Another Obama bundler who has seemingly gained from his presidential fundraising is Richard Richman, chairman of the Richman Group. In September 2010, the Richmans held a $30,000 a plate fundraising dinner for Obama in their 20-acre estate in Greenwich, Connecticut. They also donated $50,000 to Obama's inaugural. In total, the Richmans have bundled $1,073,750 for Mr. Obama.
And what did they get in return for their fundraising efforts? Richman Group’s Balton-Douglass Park--a $100 million mixed use, mixed income development which will hold 226 apartments in central Harlem--received a $21 million subsidy through the stimulus.
Ellen Richman is listed five times as a visitor in the White House visitors database, and Richard Richman is listed four times since December 2009. They also attended the March 14, 2012 State Dinner.
Mark Gallogly also came up a big winner in the Obama bundler-a-thon. In total, Mr. Gallogly has bundled $903,834 for Mr. Obama. Gallogly serves on the board of Dana Holdings Corp., a manufacturer of drivetrains and other industrial parts. Until earlier this year, Dana Holdings was heavily involved in a joint venture with Eaton Corp., another manufacturer who received numerous stimulus grants, on a line of products known as Roadranger. Roadranger received $3.1 million in stimulus funds for a line of plug in vehicles. Additionally, Dana Holdings supplies parts for Tesla Motors, which received a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy.
Gallogly was appointed to the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board and has visited the White House 39 times.
The nonpartisan Government Accountability Institute says it will release its findings for Mitt Romney’s bundlers next week. The organization says the Romney campaign’s refusal to release the names and amounts of all its bundlers made analyzing possible crony connections more difficult.
“If Romney wants the transparency and anti-cronyism themes to catch fire,” writes Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer, “he needs to do the right thing and release the names of his bundlers.”
My readers were dumbfounded when I picked the 2012 Seahawks to make the Super Bowl. By Sunday night, I was equally dumbfounded. Somehow, Seattle couldn't hold a fourth-quarter lead against an ice-cold Kevin Kolb. An ice-cold Kevin Kolb??? I spent Monday and Tuesday regrouping, and by Wednesday, I was ready to start cranking out excuses. (Come on, you knew this was coming — it was a bigger lock than Adrian Grenier being available for the new Entourage movie.) Climb into the Excuse Machine with me, would you?
I thought about using these first three excuses before realizing they were total reaches:
Excuse No. 1: Spending a month in London and immersing myself in the Olympics inadvertently murdered my feel for the 2012 NFL season. That's four weeks without SportsCenter, the NFL Network, sports radio, NFL Live, and USA Today Sports Weekly. That's four weeks of missing out on Skip and Stephen A forcing each other to argue about Tebow. That's four lost weeks of Grantland office arguments — including multiple chances for me to say, "I'm thinking about picking Seattle to make the Super Bowl," followed by Robert Mays recoiling in horror and saying, "Are you on bath salts again?"
Excuse No. 2: In London, they call soccer "football" and get snotty anytime you refer to the NFL or college football as "football." By embracing London and English people in general, that meant I was embracing their definition of "football." Maybe the real football gods took it personally. That means I have to renounce London, deny that I ever considered moving there permanently, stop saying things like "one of my biggest regrets is never studying abroad there," and go back to despising British people and making Revolutionary War jokes. Consider it done.
Excuse No. 3: Had either Doug Baldwin or Braylon Edwards held on to game-winning touchdown passes on totally catchable throws, the Seahawks would be 1-0 and I'd be selling tickets for obstructed seats on the sold-out bandwagon. Even if you might debunk this by saying, "Isn't that a bad sign that your Super Bowl sleeper threw game-deciding passes to Doug Baldwin and Braylon Edwards?," I can pick that argument apart in three words: Yeah, but still.
(This next excuse might have some legs, though … )
Excuse No. 4: We're 14 weeks away from the Mayans being proven wrong about 2012, but one of their less-ballyhooed predictions came true: "In 2012, Bill Simmons will suffer a prolonged and humiliating gambling swoon." A quick recap …
• In August of 2011, I made a Patriots/Super Bowl wager (5-to-1 odds) and eventually ended up with a dream gambling scenario for Super Bowl XLVI — the Patriots being favored by three points, making it impossible for me to lose if I hedged the right amount with the Giants. Did I hedge? Of course not! You can't hedge with your favorite team! But hey, at least the Pats didn't blow the game in the most agonizing way possible.
• In March, I bought my daughter a $20 Stanley Cup ticket for the Kings (15-to-1 odds!) that, of course, she lost during the playoffs. Disappeared in her room. Vanished. The good news — I became the first father in history to console a sobbing 7-year-old girl after she lost a $300 Vegas ticket. Welcome to gambling, sweetie!
• My post-lockout NBA strategy of "Keep going the other way against Miami, they'll eventually choke" couldn't have worked out worse. I lost not once, not twice, not three times … oh, and don't think I didn't have a series bet on the Spurs trouncing Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals.
$1.8 trillion shock: Obama regs cost 20-times estimate
September 20, 2012 | 8:51 am
The Washington Examiner
Popular in Politics
1$1.8 trillion shock: Obama regs cost 20-times estimate
Current federal regulations plus those coming under Obamacare will cost American taxpayers and businesses $1.8 trillion annually, more than twenty times the $88 billion the administration estimates, according to a new roundup provided to Secrets from the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute.
And it could grow, warned the author of the report, Clyde Wayne Crews, a CEI vice president.
Complying with Health and Human Services Department requirements alone, he revealed, costs $184 billion a year, yet regulators are still drafting the rules for the 2,400-page Obamacare law that kicks into gear in 2014.
Crews has made a working project of his "Tip of the Costberg" report which he regularly updates. In it, he compares the cost of regulations estimated by federal agencies to a much broader list of estimates from multiple federal and independent sources. And even then, he said, it doesn't include hard-to-calculate costs associated with antitrust intervention, regulation of electricity networks, or the cost of constrained access to natural resources.
"While OMB officially reports amounts of only up to $88.6 billion in 2010 dollars," said Crews, "the non-tax cost of government intervention in the economy, without performing a sweeping survey, appears to total up to $1.806 trillion annually."
But, he added, "according to back of the envelope surveys and roundups, with gaps big enough to fit the beltway through, that up to $1.806 trillion annually and in many categories perhaps even considerably more, is a defensible assessment of the annual impact on the economy."
His estimate is close to the $1.7 trillion estimate from the Small Business Administration which the White House distanced itself from. For comparison, the total U.S. GDP is $15 trillion.
The wave of Obama regulations has become a huge sore point in the business world with groups as large as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce down to the International Franchise Association crying for fewer rules. The administration, however, argues that the rules and regulations pushed out under the president have made products and workplaces safer.
Below are some of the estimates from Crews' report:
- A Baseline for Aggregate Annual Economic Regulation Costs: $373 Billion.
- A Baseline for Aggregate Annual Social Regulation Costs: $406 Billion.
- Additional Executive Agency Major Rule Costs Presented by OMB (But Not Tallied): $22.3 Billion.
- Independent Agencies' Annual Regulatory Costs: $4.58 Billion.
- Other Independent Agency Paperwork Costs: $21.56 Billion.
- Dep't of Agriculture: $9.05b
- Dep't of Commerce: $1.801b
- Dep't of Education: $3.032b
- Dep't of Energy: $9.089b
- Dep't of Health & Human Services: $184.805b
- Dep't of Homeland Security: $55.331b
- Dep't of Housing & Urban Development: $1.827b
- Dep't of the Interior: $5.321b
- Dep't of Justice: $1.253b
- Dep't of Labor: $121.987b
- Dep't of Transportation: $64.226b
- Dep't of the Treasury: $$1.32b
- Environmental Protection Agency: $352.997b
- U.S. Access Board (ATBCB): $851mil.
- Federal Acquisition Regulation: $1.356b
- Independent Agency and Certain Sectoral Regulatory Costs Antitrust: $2.34b
- Federal Communications Commission: $141.58b
- Financial Services: $102.46b
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (paperwork): $336mil.
- Federal Trade Commission (paperwork): $2.85b
- Consumer Product Safety Commission: $193mil.
- EEOC: $122mil.
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission, plus paperwork: $414mil.
- E-gov (paperwork): $380mil.
- NASA (paperwork): $107mil.
- Nat'l Science Foundation (paperwork): $231mil.
- Small Business Admin (paperwork): $43mil.
- Social Security Admin (paperwork): $1.06b.
- Privacy Regulation: $1b.
- Immigration Restrictions: $12b
Obama's Dangerous and Disastrous Presidency
By Quin Hillyer on 9.19.12 @ 6:09AM
Name a single thing that has improved under his rule.
How can any cogent American citizen possibly even consider voting for Barack Obama now? That's what lots of conservatives and moderates are asking each other, again and again. It's completely baffling, to those who grew up with any sort of sense of what America means and what the American character traditionally has been, that anybody can look at the man's record and want more of the same.
Almost the entirety of the Muslim world is now rioting against an American president who promised that his olive branches to Muslims would secure peace. Like Jimmy Carter, Obama has only shown a weakness that has emboldened the Islamist haters. Meanwhile, our closest ally in the region, Israel, a stable representative democracy led by an American-educated, America-loving prime minister, has repeatedly been insulted, abandoned, and undermined. In short, the United States is in worse position with all sides in the Middle East/northern Africa. We are embarrassed, feckless, wounded... and in four tragic cases, dead.
Allies in Poland and the Czech Republic have been repeatedly let down and sometimes insulted. The "re-set" with Russia earned us only Russian contempt. China and Russia ignore our entreaties around the world, with absolute disdain for our wishes, our olive branches, or Obama's supposedly Nobel-worthy and messianic genius for diplomacy.
Domestically, our debt has increased by 50 percent in just four years, by some $5 trillion, with not a single observable benefit from the spending. Our bond rating already has been downgraded by one agency, and another major agency threatens to downgrade us. Our unemployment rate has never been beneath 8 percent since Obama's first month in office, even though his economic team said his outrageously expensive "stimulus" package would ensure that it would never rise above 8 percent, and indeed that it would drop below 6 percent within four years.
Our politics is more fractured, less civil, than ever -- and as Bob Woodward, of all people, indicates in his new book, this is largely the fault of Obama. He has been the first president in history to push through a major new program without a single vote from the opposing party -- and while refusing to incorporate a single major idea from the other party, while ignoring overwhelming public sentiment to pass it, and while bending the rules in multiple ways to force it through Congress. Meanwhile, on the real business of Congress, his Senate allies have ignored longstanding law by refusing to pass a budget for three years now, while twice rejecting the president's own pitiful budget proposal by unanimous votes.
Obama campaigned with a promise to rein in abuses of executive power, but instead he increasingly rules by executive decrees of dubious constitutionality. Congress won't pass cap-and-trade, so he orders it anyway. Congress won't pass amnesty for illegal immigrants, so he orders it anyway. Congress won't undermine the work requirement in the welfare system, so he guts the work requirements by executive order. And on and on go the abuses.
His Justice Department is flagrantly corrupt and racialist. It told a black majority town in North Carolina that it could not hold nonpartisan elections because voters would fail to elect the black "candidates of choice" if the candidate weren't identified as Democrats. It intervened against the heroic Fire Department of New York to push racial hiring quotas on the department so outrageous that it would force admittance into the fire academy of candidates who missed as many as 70 percent (!!!) of the questions on a simple entrance exam; and, in blocking all applicants expected to be hired under the previous exam, it prohibited a number of black applicants who actually had met standards from being hired. So outrageous was this abuse that even the leftist Village Voice ran a long feature story taking up for the qualified black applicants whose chances for employment were dashed.
And, of course, DoJ ran an idiotic gun-running program on the Mexican border that led to the deaths of two American agents and countless Mexicans while drawing a rebuke from the Mexican ambassador, and then covered up and even lied about its actions. Also, infamously, it dropped already-won cases against New Black Panther thugs for flagrant voter-intimidation outside a Philadelphia polling place in 2008 -- dropped the cases, indeed, just in time, meaning four days in advance, for one of those thugs again to serve as an official Democratic Party poll-watcher in municipal elections in 2009.
Gasoline prices are twice what they were when Obama took office -- and rising again. The housing market remains in the doldrums. Food stamp use is by far at the highest level in history, and poverty is markedly up. Food prices are markedly higher. Small businesses are jettisoning the health-insurance benefits they offered employees until Obamacare made it prohibitively expensive. Doctors are retiring in record numbers rather than face Obamacare's scourges -- and most of the law hasn't yet taken effect. Coming soon are new taxes on medical device manufacturers: Patients will pay more for wheelchairs, prosthetics, insulin pumps, asthma inhalers, pacemakers, and other essential fruits of modern medical technology.
Taxpayers are on the hook for huge losses from the auto bailouts, even as most of GM's new jobs have been created overseas rather than here, and even as auto dealerships across the nation were shut down by administration fiat on political bases rather than on the basis of which ones were profitable. Taxpayers are on the hook for politically inspired "investments" to Obama cronies in failing businesses such as Solyndra. Taxpayers are on the hook for higher electricity prices due to a backdoor cap-and-trade scheme imposed by (illegal) administrative fiat.
Religious liberties, meanwhile, are under repeated and sustained attacked from an administration openly hostile to traditional faith. And the president even refuses to defend in federal court laws duly passed by Congress and signed by former President Clinton.
The parade of abuses, incompetencies, extravagances, and illegalities goes on and on. The record of improvements in any sector of American life is… well, nil. Nothing is better, not a single thing, at home or abroad. And Obama has offered no recognizable plans, no new proposals, no substance at all, for making things better in a second term.
This presidency is a disaster. Reasonable people are gobsmacked at the possibility that it could somehow be allowed to continue its degradations of American society.
About the Author
Quin Hillyer is a senior editor of The American Spectator and a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom. Follow him on Twitter @QuinHillyer. http://spectator.org/archives/2012/09/19/obamas-dangerous-and-disastrou
Chris Wallace Asks Obama Adviser 'President Has Time for Whoopi Goldberg But Not World Leaders?'
By Noel Sheppard | September 23, 2012 | 10:22
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Fox News's Chris Wallace on Sunday asked senior Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs an absolutely delicious question about the current White House resident's schedule.
During a Fox News Sunday interview, the host said, "The President has blocked out time to appear on The View on Tuesday. So, he has time for Whoopi Goldberg but he doesn’t have time for world leaders?" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for commentary):
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CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I want to go back to the UN though and New York this week. You say that he’s got schedules, that foreign leaders have schedules. But the President has blocked out time to appear on The View on Tuesday. So, he has time for Whoopi Goldberg but he doesn’t have time for world leaders?
ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA SENIOR CAMPAIGN ADVISER: No, Chris. Look, the President is going to be actively involved at the UN General Assembly.
WALLACE: He’s not meeting with any private leaders. He's giving a speech.
GIBBS: Chris, they have telephones in the White House. Last week, he talked to the President of Egypt. He talked to the leader in Libya. We don't need a meeting in Washington just to confer with leaders. We’ve got a strong...
WALLACE: But he does need the time to be on The View?
GIBBS: We have a strong diplomatic – I’m sure if he was doing an interview with you on Fox News, you’d have no problem with that.
WALLACE: Well, he hasn't, but that’s not the point.
GIBBS: I’m sure that’s not the point. No, look Chris, he’s got a strong schedule. He’s actively involved.
WALLACE: You don't have a problem with the fact that he’s not meeting with any world leaders, but he’s going to appear on The View?
GIBBS: I have no problem with that, because, Chris, you’re the President of the United States every minute of every day.
About the Author
Noel Sheppard is the Associate Editor of NewsBusters. Click here to follow Noel Sheppard on Twitter.
Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/09/23/chris-wallace-asks-obama-adviser-president-has-time-whoopi-goldberg-n#ixzz27KmRZFsG
SHEILA BAIR: Tim Geithner Was 'The Bailouter In-Chief'
Michael Kaplan|11 minutes ago|0|
Former FDIC chairman Sheila Bair has a new book out slamming Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his handling of the bank bailouts during the financial crisis.
Bair went on CNBC's Power Lunch today to discuss her book "Bull by the Horns" in which she dubs Geithner "the bailouter in chief" during the crisis.
Here are some key points from her appearance:
"I think [Geithner] viewed the problems through the prism of the large financial institutions, particularly Citigroup, and his worldview was if you help them out of their troubles you're going to help out the economy. I wanted to impose some market accountability. I wanted bondholders to take losses, I wanted those who had lent money to these institutions, the investors, to share more of the pain and share more of the risk. I think it was just a constant conflict throughout…There was just a philosophic disagreement throughout my tenure."
"I do know that my voice wasn't heard as it should, I was not included in as many meetings as I should have been. I was not given any advance warning on our actions."
"We didn't help homeowners, we didn't tackle the way we should have, we didn't clean up the bank balance sheets. It continues to be a drag on the economy and there remains horrible public cynicism and anger towards Washington and toward large financial institution. There's this perception that the game is rigged, everybody in Washington is captive, and it was all created by the bailout. It still makes me angry."
Check out the video below:
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/bair-slams-geithner-on-bank-bailouts-2012-9#ixzz27VpKd1WK
Sheila Bair Book Says Obama Foreclosure Prevention Program 'Cheated Borrowers'
Posted: 09/25/2012 1:08 pm EDT Updated: 09/25/2012 4:22 pm EDT
WASHINGTON -- Former bank regulator Sheila Bair cringed when President Barack Obama promised at an Arizona high school gymnasium in 2009 that his administration could save millions of homes from foreclosure.
"If lenders and home buyers work together, and the lender agrees to offer rates that the borrower can afford, then we'll make up part of the gap between what the old payments were and what the new payments will be," Obama said, explaining the program with Bair at his side. "And this will enable as many as 3 to 4 million homeowners to modify the terms of their mortgages to avoid foreclosure."
In her new book, "Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself," Bair recounts how her own housing proposals were passed over in favor of a much weaker program, which she knew would never save 4 million homes. Bair served as chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation until July 2011.
"At the Phoenix announcement, the president was masterful in announcing the program, though I cringed as he threw out what I considered to be wildly inflated numbers on the programs' impact," Bair wrote. "Even with our own, more aggressive proposal, we had estimated the number of successful modifications at 2.1 million tops."
The plan, known officially as the Home Affordable Modification Program, offers struggling homeowners reduced monthly payments through a standardized modification process. The program won't reach its goal of 3 to 4 million restructured loans, but it recently achieved a sadder milestone: 1 million failed modifications. Fewer than 900,000 homeowners are making modified payments, which are typically $500 lower than before the modification.
The huge number of loans that needed to be reworked, combined with burdensome documentation requirements and a lackluster effort on the part of banks' mortgage servicing divisions, guaranteed the program was "doomed to failure," according to Bair.
"What's more, it cheated borrowers," she wrote. "Because Treasury wanted to demonstrate quickly that huge numbers of borrowers were being modified, it let borrowers enter into 'trial modifications' whereby they would start making reduced payments pending completion of all of their paperwork. But many of the borrowers could not provide all of the extensive documentation required by the program, so they would be put into foreclosure even though they had been making timely payments for months!"
Bair's book describes Obama as engaged and knowledgable about housing recovery efforts, but undermined by his aides, particularly Treasury Secretary Tim Geither and former economic adviser Larry Summers.
"HAMP was a program designed to look good in a press release, not to fix the housing market," Bair wrote. "Larry and Tim didn't seem to care about the political beating the president took on the hundreds of billions of dollars thrown at the big-bank bailouts and AIG bonuses, but when it came to home owners, it was a very different story. I don't think helping home owners was ever a priority for them."
Bair's book echoes the criticism in Neil Barofsky's "Bailout," another recent insider account of the Obama administration's housing failures.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/25/sheila-bair-book_n_1912699.html
Obama claim that Bush is 90% responsible for current deficit gets 100% of Pinocchios at WaPo
posted at 10:01 am on September 26, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
I hit this 60 Minutes quote two days ago in yesterday’s OOTD, but it’s worth revisiting in the form of Glenn Kessler’s fact check at the Washington Post. Kessler misses one of the biggest problems with Barack Obama’s response to Steve Kroft’s question, which was about national debt, and Obama responded by talking about deficits — two different issues, although related. I’ll put the question and the longer answer provided by Kessler together, emphases mine:
KROFT: The national debt has gone up sixty percent in — in the four years that you’ve been in office.
OBAMA: Well, first — first of all, Steve, I think it’s important to understand the context here. When I came into office, I inherited the biggest deficit in our history. And over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but ninety percent of that is as a consequence of two wars that weren’t paid for, as a consequence of tax cuts that weren’t paid for, a prescription drug plan that was not paid for, and then the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Now we took some emergency actions, but that accounts for about 10 percent of this increase in the deficit, and we have actually seen the federal government grow at a slower pace than at any time since Dwight Eisenhower, in fact, substantially lower than the federal government grew under either Ronald Reagan or George Bush.
Now, if the deficit goes up, the solution would be to either spend less or tax more. Obama has done neither in any of his budget proposals, and as I wrote yesterday, his last two budget proposals would have made the situation worse — which is why even his own party gave neither of them so much as one supporter in three floor votes. Furthermore, the FY2009 budget in place when Obama took office was the creation of the Democrat-controlled House and Senate from the year before, and it was signed into law by Obama in March 2009, not Bush, after Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid played keep-away in the fall of 2008. Barack Obama was part of that effort as a member of the Senate.
Kessler skips over these points to address Obama’s argument that the structural deficit is 90% George Bush’s problem. Kessler says it’s the other way around — that Bush policies account for about 10% of the current annual structural budget deficit, and the rest is evenly split between bad projections from the CBO and Obama’s spending and economic policies:
As can be seen above, CBO’s errors in forecasting played a large role in the demise of the projected surpluses. CBO had kept counting on a gusher of capital gains revenue — and then obviously failed to predict the recession of 2008.
But Obama’s policies also played a big role during his presidency. Using the CBO data for the years 2009-2011, here’s a very rough calculation of the contribution to the deficit. To keep things simple, we did not try to allocate interest expense, and we did not include categories of spending or taxes that were difficult to allocate.
The 2009 fiscal year is especially hard because that budget year is so much of an amalgam of Bush and Obama policies; we essentially split the cost of the Troubled Asset Relief Program between the two of them. Since this is not intended to be exact, but illustrative, we have rounded numbers and percentages:
•Economic/technical differences: $570 billion (46 percent)
•Bush policies: $330 billion (27 percent)
•Obama policies: $325 billion (27 percent)
•Economic/technical: $815 billion (51 percent)
•Bush: $225 billion (14 percent)
•Obama: $565 billion (35 percent)
•Economic/technical: $720 billion (46 percent)
•Bush: $160 billion (10 percent)
•Obama: $685 billion (44 percent)
Clearly, a huge part of the deficit problem — about half — stems from the recession and forecasting errors. But Obama’s policies represent a big chunk as well.
So how many Pinocchios does Obama get? One hundred percent of them:
Obama certainly inherited an economic mess, and that accounts for a large part of the deficit. But Obama pushed for spending increases and tax cuts that also have contributed in important ways to the nation’s fiscal deterioration. He certainly could argue that these were necessary and important steps to take, but he can’t blithely suggest that 90 percent of the current deficit “is as a consequence” of his predecessor’s policies — and not his own.
As for the citing of the discredited MarketWatch column, we have repeatedly urged the administration to rely on estimates from official government agencies, such as the White House budget office. It is astonishing to see the president repeat this faulty claim once again, as if it were an established fact. Four Pinocchios[.]
And as Kessler points out, the real structural bomb to annual deficits has yet to be triggered. ObamaCare may be deficit neutral in its first ten years — which is still arguable, and based on a fiscal shell game — but after that, “all bets are off
NDAA Plaintiffs Say Obama Flipped Out When A Judge Blocked The Act Because He Was Already Detaining People
Abby Rogers|29 minutes ago|0|
The Obama administration might be coming for you, no matter who you are, according to a group of people fighting President Barack Obama's indefinite detention act.
Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, and a whole host of others involved in the fight against the National Defense Authorization Act yesterday took to Reddit to answer questions about the act.
A federal judge permanently blocked the NDAA — which allows the government to indefinitely detain anyone even remotely related to terrorism — claiming it has a "chilling effect" on free speech.
But the Obama administration was quick to pounce, saying Judge Katherine B. Forrest overstepped her bounds in opposing the White House.
"Anyone who dissents is in threat," Hedges wrote in response to a question about who should fear the act. "The legislation, as the dumped emails by Wikileaks from the security firm Stafford illustrated, allows the state to tie a legitimate dissident group to terrorism and strip them of their right of dissent."
Another Redditor asked why Obama was so quick to fight Forrest's ruling.
"If the Obama administration simply appealed it, as we expected, it would have raised this red flag," Hedges wrote. "But since they were so aggressive it means that once Judge Forrest declared the law invalid, if they were using it, as we expect, they could be held in contempt of court. This was quite disturbing, for it means, I suspect, that U.S. citizens, probably dual nationals, are being held in military detention facilities almost certainly overseas and maybe at home."
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/ndaa-plaintiffs-answer-questions-on-reddit-2012-9#ixzz27hSaNKLi
60% of firms to kill health insurance, charge more under Obamacare
The Washington Examiner ^ | September 26, 2012 | Paul Bedard
Posted on Friday, September 28, 2012 10:55:31 AM by
A majority of small business owners and manufacturers are mulling drastic changes to comply with Obamacare, with 21 percent set to drop health insurance to workers altogether and 38 percent planning to make employees pay much more.
In a poll done for the National Association of Manufacturers and National Federation of Independent Businesses, 59 percent said that they will have to consider changes once the full law kicks in because increased costs will jeopardize their operations. According to the poll, 67 percent expect Obamacare to raise healthcare costs.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonexaminer.com ...
Obama Cabinet Flunks Disclosure Test With 19 in 20 Ignoring Law
By Jim Snyder and Danielle Ivory - Sep 28, 2012 12:31 PM EThttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-28/obama-cabinet-flunks-disclosure-test-with-19-in-20-ignoring-law.html
On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama ordered federal officials to “usher in a new era of open government” and “act promptly” to make information public.
As Obama nears the end of his term, his administration hasn’t met those goals, failing to follow the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, according to an analysis of open-government requests filed by Bloomberg News.
Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama ordered federal officials to "usher in a new era of open government" and "act promptly" to make information public. Megan Hughes reports on Bloomberg Television's "In The Loop." (Source: Bloomberg)
Nineteen of 20 cabinet-level agencies disobeyed the law requiring the disclosure of public information: The cost of travel by top officials. In all, just eight of the 57 federal agencies met Bloomberg’s request for those documents within the 20-day window required by the Act.
“When it comes to implementation of Obama’s wonderful transparency policy goals, especially FOIA policy in particular, there has been far more ‘talk the talk’ rather than ‘walk the walk,’” said Daniel Metcalfe, director of the Department of Justice’s office monitoring the government’s compliance with FOIA requests from 1981 to 2007.
The Bloomberg survey was designed in part to gauge the timeliness of responses, which Attorney General Eric Holder called “an essential component of transparency” in a March 2009 memo. About half of the 57 agencies eventually disclosed the out-of-town travel expenses generated by their top official by Sept. 14, most of them well past the legal deadline.
Bloomberg reporters in June filed FOIA requests for fiscal year 2011 taxpayer-supported travel for Cabinet secretaries and top officials of major departments. Justice Department official Melanie Ann Pustay said in an interview that disclosure of those records is in the public interest.
Data and Graphics: Testing Obama's Promise of Government Transparency
Even agency heads who publicly announce their events -- including Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius -- didn’t provide the costs of their out-of-town trips more than three months after the initial request.
“It’s ironic that the demands in the presidential campaign for Mitt Romney’s tax returns are unrelenting, but when it comes time to release the schedules for senior appointees there’s the same denial of access,” said Paul Light, a New York University professor who studies the federal bureaucracy.
“Over the past four years, federal agencies have gone to great efforts to make government more transparent and more accessible than ever, to provide people with information that they can use in their daily lives,” said White House spokesman Eric Schultz, who noted that Obama received an award for his commitment to open government. The March 2011 presentation of that award was closed to the press.
The travel costs generated by some other Obama officials --Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, and Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano -- also remain undisclosed.
A request made in June for the travel records of Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, will remain unfulfilled for more than a year, according to a federal official involved in the case.
“We really appreciate your patience in this matter. The estimated completion date is July 2013,” wrote Chris Barnes, a State Department FOIA official, in a Sept. 24 e-mail. Under FOIA, the department is required to offer a timetable for delayed responses.
Government travel costs have received greater scrutiny since a report by the General Services Administration’s inspector general on April 2 revealed that a 2010 Las Vegas junket -- featuring a mind reader and a clown -- cost taxpayers more than $823,000. Since then, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson has resigned and the IG has referred the matter to the Department of Justice.
Related: Activist's Nine Year Navy FOIA Fight Results in Supreme Court Win
Records obtained as a result of another Bloomberg FOIA request showed that the GSA almost tripled its expenditures for conferences from 2005 to 2010. Taxpayers paid $27.8 million for more than 200 overnight gatherings attended by at least 50 GSA employees over the five-year period, according to the records.
Under Obama, federal agencies also have stepped up the use of exemptions to block the release of information.
During the first year of the administration, cabinet agencies employed exemptions 466,402 times, a 50 percent jump from the last year of the presidency of George W. Bush. While exemption citations have since been reduced by 21 percent from that high, they still are above the level seen during the Bush administration, according to Justice Department data.
The majority of the exemptions came from the Department of Homeland Security, which gets the most requests, records show.
The greater number of documents released online helps explain the increased use of exemptions, according to Tracy Russo, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department. “The pool of requests that are made tend to be more complex,” she said.
Open government advocates note that Obama’s transparency pledge is undermined by a federal bureaucracy that often cites staff shortages and compliance costs to delay the release of information.
“I don’t think the administration has been very good at all on open-government issues,” said Katherine Meyer, a Washington attorney who has been filing open records requests since the late 1970s. “The Obama administration is as bad as any of them, and to some extent worse.”
In one case Meyer pursued, the Center for Auto Safety was told by Treasury FOIA officials that its request for records relating to the U.S. auto bailout would cost $38,000. Meyer successfully argued the fees should be waived because the request was in the public interest.
The Freedom of Information Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, is designed to open up the process of government to citizens. Individuals have the right to file requests, and the law mandates that the department answer the query within 20 working days, ask for a 10-day extension, or offer a timetable for the release of the information.
In the past, FOIA has been used to obtain a wide range of government records. Among them: Documents on the use of the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War; Department of Transportation reports detailing safety issues with the Ford Pinto’s fuel tank that contributed to some 500 deaths; and details of the Bush administration’s deliberations on the use of torture following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“It’s the smoking gun that often holds government accountable for its misdeeds,” said Kevin Goldberg, a First Amendment attorney at Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth Plc in Arlington, Virginia, who also serves as legal counsel for the American Society of News Editors.
Miriam Nisbet, the head of the Office of Government Information Services, which acts as a FOIA ombudsman, said Obama deserves praise for highlighting government accountability.
“We see a great deal of emphasis and attention paid to transparency,” she said. “That is a really important message.”
Nisbet’s office offered travel documents three days after acknowledging the FOIA request.
The Bloomberg FOIA filing also asked each department to identify trips, lodging and meals provided by non-federal sources. All told, 30 of the 57 agencies contacted replied with those travel records by Sept. 14.
Of the 20 Cabinet-level agencies contacted by Bloomberg News, only the Small Business Administration met the legal 20- day deadline by disclosing that Administrator Karen Mills took 27 trips out of Washington at a total cost to the U.S. taxpayer of $15,856.
The records of Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Labor Hilda Solis, former Secretary of Commerce and Acting Secretary Gary Locke and Rebecca Blank, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Jacob Lew, the former director of the Office and Management and Budget who is now White House Chief of Staff, were released to Bloomberg News under the request, though those agencies did not meet the 20-day deadline.
Kirk, “who travels all over the world” for his duties according to the USTR website, took 23 business trips in fiscal 2011, 17 of which involved domestic travel, for a cost of about $45,000. Kirk “has said many times that increased outreach to the American people” is important for economic growth, USTR spokeswoman Carol Guthrie said in an e-mail.
Eric Newton, senior adviser at the Knight Foundation, a Miami-based group that promotes citizen engagement, said agencies have no excuse not to rapidly disclose travel costs.
“In a 24/7 world, it should take two days, it should take two hours,” Newton said. “If it’s public, it should be just there.”
The Department of Justice, which is charged with monitoring how all federal agencies respond to FOIA requests, has yet to release the travel details of top officials at three of its affiliated agencies: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Pustay, head of the Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy, said that taxpayer-supported travel records are “certainly something that people would ask for and something that’s of interest to the public.” She said “the crush of work” makes swift replies difficult.
None of the nine exemptions under the FOIA -- which protect national security, personal information or corporate trade secrets, for example -- allow taxpayer-supported travel expenses to remain hidden from view.
Those records may include information, such as private mobile-phone numbers or information related to security, that is exempted from disclosure, which could be causing the delays, Pustay said.
Responsive agencies were able to redact personal details within the FOIA time period. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the chief regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, provided the travel expense records for Acting Director Edward DeMarco’s six trips out of town within 15 days of the filing.
DeMarco’s trips cost $5,653.29, the documents show. Personal information such as his Social Security number and home address were blacked-out in the file.
Data and Graphics: Testing Obama's Promise of Government Transparency
The process for accessing information that hasn’t been already released remains confusing, time-consuming and at times antagonistic, said Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, a Washington-based open-information repository.
“There is a culture of obfuscation among agency Freedom of Information officials,” he said. “Bureaucrats are able to deter a lot of citizen engagement.”
Travel records were largely shielded from public view until Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act on July 4, 1966. Congress adopted post-Watergate reforms in 1974, giving agencies a deadline to comply with requests and narrowing exemptions for law enforcement and national security agencies. The FOIA law was updated another four times through 2007, when the Office of Government Information Services was established as the federal ombudsman.
The White House says it has released more than 2.5 million records since Obama took office. Recovery.gov allows citizens to track stimulus spending by state. The administration also has for the first time posted the names of White House visitors, though not a full list of who has attended meetings.
Other records now disclosed include the number of weapons in the nation’s nuclear arsenal, report cards for veterans’ hospitals, and employer-specific workplace safety records kept by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The total number of FOIA requests increased, with 631,424 processed last year, compared with 600,849 in 2010.
The government’s website dedicated to monitoring its response to filings, FOIA.gov, shows the number of backlogged requests grew 20 percent to 83,490 filings from 2010 to 2011.
The Justice Department reported in 2008 that there were 3,691 full-time FOIA personnel across all departments and agencies. In 2011, the figure increased by 19 percent to 4,400, according to the department. Some agencies outsource FOIA- related tasks, including the redaction process. The government has spent at least $86.2 million on contracts described as pertaining to FOIA since 2009, according to federal procurement data compiled by Bloomberg.
The administration acknowledged systemic issues with the FOIA process when the Office of Management and Budget issued guidelines Aug. 24 to all federal agencies on how to streamline government information. The memo called for all government information to be stored in an electronic format by December 2019 -- almost three years after the end of a potential second Obama term.
Stephen Hess, a presidential historian at the Washington- based Brookings Institution, called the survey results a “grim” assessment of Obama’s transparency record. He said the president -- like many of the men who have occupied the Oval Office -- has discovered how difficult it is to bend the government’s bureaucracies to his will.
“The sad part is it won’t be any better for the next folks either,” Hess said. “The only difference perhaps is the Obama people led us to believe it would be different.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Jim Snyder in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org; Danielle Ivory in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org; Stephanie Stoughton at email@example.com
Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN): ObamaCare ‘Threatens Thousands Of American Jobs’
Written By: Steve Foley
September 28, 2012
ObamaCare ‘Threatens Thousands Of American Jobs’
Democrat Former Senator Who Voted For ObamaCare Exposes Real World Consequences
Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN): ‘Threatens Thousands Of American Jobs’
“A 2.3% tax on medical-device sales, not profits, was imposed… there will be little or no increase in sales volume to offset the added cost of $30 billion—according to the Congressional Budget Office—to the industry. This tax comes straight out of a company’s bottom line.” (“Evan Bayh: ObamaCare’s Tax Raid On Medical Devices,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/12)
•“The hit will be severe. For a typical company, a 2.3% tax on revenues equals a 15% tax on profits. When combined with a 35% corporate tax and state corporate taxes, the tax rate for the medical-device industry will exceed 50% in most jurisdictions. Many marginally profitable businesses will then hemorrhage red ink, since they’ll have to pay the excise tax whether they are making money or not.” (“Evan Bayh: ObamaCare’s Tax Raid On Medical Devices,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/12)
“…tax on medical devices that threatens thousands of American jobs…” (“Evan Bayh: ObamaCare’s Tax Raid On Medical Devices,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/12)
•“This month, Welch Allyn—a maker of stethoscopes and blood-pressure cuffs—announced that it will lay off 10% of its global workforce over the next three years, but all of the jobs being cut are in the U.S.” (“Evan Bayh: ObamaCare’s Tax Raid On Medical Devices,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/12)
•“In my state of Indiana alone, Cook Medical has canceled plans to build one new U.S. facility annually in each of the next several years, and Zimmer plans to lay off 450 workers, while Hill-Rom expects to lay off 200. Stryker, based in Michigan, anticipates having to lay off 1,000 workers.” (“Evan Bayh: ObamaCare’s Tax Raid On Medical Devices,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/12)
Sen. Bayh Voted For ObamaCare Twice
Sen. Bayh voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (H.R. 3590, Roll Call Vote #396, Passed 60-39: R 0-39; D 58-0; I 2-0, Bayh Voted Yea, 11/24/09)
•Sen. Bayh voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. (H.R. 4872, Roll Call Vote #105, Passed 56-43: R 0-40; D 54-3; I 2-0, Bayh Voted Yea, 3/25/10)
Obama uses Down syndrome to hit Romney (Shameful Exploitation Alert!)
Red Alert Politics ^ | 10-1-2012 | Paul Bedard
Posted on Monday, October 01, 2012 4:03:47 PM by smoothsailing
October 1, 2012
Obama uses Down syndrome to hit Romney
In its latest effort to slap Mitt Romney's "47 percent" comment, the Obama campaign on Monday tapped a young woman with Down syndrome to pull at the heartstrings of undecided voters.
The Obama-Biden campaign's web page featured a "letter of the week" from a 25-year-old woman who wrote that "I am one of the 47% of Americans who fall under Mitt Romney's definition of 'entitled' and 'unable to take responsibility for my life.' I have Down syndrome."
The letter comes on the heel of the campaign's TV ad playing in battleground states that uses the audio of Romney dismissing efforts to win over 47 percent of voters dedicated to Obama because they receive some kind of government assistance. While the Romney campaign said the context is about the election and not how he will approach the nation as president, the Obama campaign has made the case that Romney won't look out for those who need help.
Enter "Brittany" and her letter. In it, she said that she is a registered Democrat, and on assistance, which she said makes her part of Obama's 47 percent.
"My mother applied for Social Security's Supplemental Security Income program (SSI) for me when I was 19. I really want to make lots of money and have a hot tub someday, but SSI subtracts my paychecks from my SSI benefits, so I don't have much to put into a savings account," she wrote.
"I am now working for a store, folding clothes and doing returns. I like my job a lot! I make $4.98 an hour and I am allowed to work 25-30 hours a week (I have paid $542.72 in federal, FICA, state, and city taxes this year as of August 31st)," she added in a knock at Romney's other comment that many of Obama's supporters don't pay taxes.
It's full of very cute lines. "I just got my own apartment and share it with another girl like me. I get to pay rent now ($325 a month) and pay for my telephone and cable because I like the Disney Channel. I was not allowed to take my dog with me, but I can hang all of my Hannah Montana posters on my bedroom wall," she wrote.
And, she added, "I have also included my picture, not just because I'm cute, but because I wanted to give you a face of one of the 47% to share with Mr. Romney."
Blogger Jeryl Bier noticed the letter first, calling it an "exploitive cheap shot."
Obama appoints Vicious Anti-Israel, Pro-Hamas Muslim Leader...to Warsaw Human Rights Conference
Atlas Shrugs ^ | October 3, 2012 | Pamela Geller
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2012 11:44:09 AM
It is not difficult to see what a horror a second Obama presidency will look like. Obama is consistent in his foreign policy -- anti-freedom, pro-jihad. Four years into his presidency, the world is radically transformed, and soon will be unrecognizable.
Anti-Israel, Pro-Hamas Muslim Leader Is US Delegate to Warsaw Human Rights Conference
His most infamous statement was during a radio interview on September 11, 2001, accusing Israel of the attack on the WTC. Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press
For two weeks every year, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe holds what it refers to as the world’s largest human rights and democracy conference, called the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. Organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, this year’s meeting is taking place in Warsaw, and it began last week. Special attention is focused this year on freedom of religion and belief, the rights of Roma (formerly called gypsies) women and the rights of national minorities in OSCE countries.
The head of the U.S. delegation to the conference this year is Ambassador Avis Bohlen, a retired foreign service officer whose career included serving as Ambassador to Bulgaria from 1996 – 1999.
There are three public members of the U.S. delegation. Nida Gelazis, of the Woodrow Wilson Center, is a scholar of international human rights, international law and citizenship policies and protection of national minorities.
Dr. Ethel Brooks, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, is the second representative of the U.S. at the conference. Brooks has published many articles on her research areas which include child labor in third world countries, globalization and political economies.
The third public member chosen to attend the human rights conference as a representative of the U.S. is Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
(Excerpt) Read more at atlasshrugs2000.typepad. com ...
Was Obama rattled by developing donor scandal story?
October 4, 2012 | 9:51 pm
The Washington Examiner
President Obama's reelection campaign, rattled by his Wednesday night debate performance, could be in for even worse news. According to knowledgeable sources, a national magazine and a national web site are preparing a blockbuster donor scandal story.
Sources told Secrets that the Obama campaign has been trying to block the story. But a key source said it plans to publish the story Friday or, more likely, Monday.
According to the sources, a taxpayer watchdog group conducted a nine-month investigation into presidential and congressional fundraising and has uncovered thousands of cases of credit card solicitations and donations to Obama and Capitol Hill, allegedly from unsecure accounts, and many from overseas. That might be a violation of federal election laws.
The Obama campaign has received hundreds of millions in small dollar donations, many via credit card donations through their website. On Thursday, the campaign announced a record September donor haul of $150 million.
At the end of the 2008 presidential campaign, the Obama-Biden effort was hit with a similar scandal. At the time, the Washington Post reported that the Obama campaign let donors use "largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor's identity."
October 8, 2012
Corruption: Exposing Barack Obama’s Illegal Foreign Campaign Money Loophole
By Katie Pavlich
A new report obtained by Townhall from the non-partisan Government Accountability Institute [GAI] shows the Obama campaign has potentially violated federal election law by failing to prevent the use of fraudulent or foreign credit card transactions on the official Obama for America [OFA] donation webpage.
For the past eight months, GAI has been investigating the potential influence of foreign online campaign donations in House, Senate and presidential elections. The report was conducted using spidering software and found thousands of foreign sites linking to campaign donation pages. The investigation was conducted with the guidance of a former U.S. attorney. GAI is led by Peter Schweizer, who recently exposed congressional insider trading in his book Throw Them All Out.
“As FBI surveillance tapes have previously shown, foreign governments understand and are eager to exploit the weaknesses of American campaigns,” the report says. “This, combined with the Internet’s ability to disintermediate campaign contributions on a mass scale, as well as outmoded and lax Federal Election Commission rules, make U.S. elections vulnerable to foreign influence.”
OFA seems to be taking advantage of a “foreign donor loophole” by not using CVV on their campaign donation page. When you donate online to the Obama campaign using a credit card, the contribution webpage does not require donors to enter a secure CVV number (also known as CSC, CVV2 or CVN), the three-digit securing code on the back of credit cards. This code, although not 100 percent effective, is used to ensure a person making a purchase physically possesses the card. According to the report, 90 percent of e-commerce and 19 of the 20 largest charities in the United States use a CVV code, making its use standard industry practice in order to prevent fraud. Another anti-fraud security measure includes software, better known as an Address Verification System, to verify a donor’s address matches the address on file with the credit card company. The investigation could not determine whether OFA is using this type of software to prevent fraudulent or illegal donations.
Because of the lack of a CVV code requirement, the door is opened for OFA to accept robo-donations, or in other words, large numbers of small and automatic donations made online to evade FEC reporting requirements. Although it isn’t illegal to decline the use of a secure CVV credit card code for campaign donations, it is illegal to accept campaign donations from foreign sources. Campaigns are required under criminal code not to solicit, accept or receive foreign donations in any amount. The Federal Elections Commission doesn’t require campaigns to disclose the names of donors making contributions of less than $200 unless audited. In addition, FEC rules don’t require campaigns to keep records of those giving less than $50. These rules combined with the lack of a CVV numbers make it easy for campaigns to get away with taking foreign donations.
According to GAI, it is the duty of the campaign to “ensure compliance with the law. Indeed, they risk criminal prosecution for the conscious failure to do so. This means that whether or not the FEC requires it to be reported, campaigns have an independent duty under the law to discover and protect against criminal campaign contributions.” Protecting against criminal campaign contributions is easily accomplished by requiring a CVV code on the campaign donation page.
OFA has specifically touted its “grassroots” success by showcasing the majority of its donations coming from those giving less than $200. It appears the campaign also solicits funds for less than $200 in order to avoid having to report the name of the person making a donation under FEC rules. The GAI documents included the following email from Barack Obama to campaign supporters:
IT ALL ADDS UP
A large part of the Team Obama operation is outsourced. More than 200 domain names with the word “Obama” in the web address have been purchased. The most significant of these websites may be Obama.com, which is owned by an Obama bundler in Shanghai, China with “questionable business ties to state-run Chinese enterprises,” according to the report.
Obama.com was purchased in 2008, and, although Obama.com is owned by a third party, not the campaign itself, the site redirects its foreign traffic, a whopping 68 percent, directly to the official Obama for America campaign donation page. The Obama campaign’s official and main website, BarackObama.com, sees 43 percent of its traffic coming from foreign IP addresses, according to web metrics firm Markosweb and noted in the report.
According to industry leading web analytics site Markosweb, an anonymously registered redirect site (Obama.com) features 68 % foreign traffic. Starting in December 2011, the site was linked to a specific donation page on the official BarackObama.com campaign website for ten months. The page loaded a tracking number, 634930, into a space on the website labeled "who encouraged you to make this donation." That tracking number is embedded in the source code for Obama.com and is associated with the Obama Victory Fund. In early September 2012, the page began redirecting to the standard Obama Victory Fund donation page. Search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, using common spamming techniques, may have been undertaken by unknown third-parties, generating foreign traffic to Obama.com.
China has a long history of trying to illegally influence American elections. Their efforts were most prominent in the 1990s.
In the past, foreign governments have relied on middlemen to transfer illegal campaign contributions. With the explosion of Internet campaign fundraising, the prospect of foreign powers, criminal gangs, foreign individuals, or domestic fraudsters making direct campaign contributions to American elections becomes far more likely. Put simply, campaign fundraising crimes are now just a click away. Rather than risking detection or relying on a middleman, donations can be anonymously donated through campaign websites. The state of Internet security of many political campaigns’ websites leaves American elections vulnerable to fraud or foreign influence.
AN HONEST MISTAKE, OR SOMETHING MORE?
Is the non-use of CVV code verification simply an oversight or mistake made by Obama for America? Most likely, no. The Obama campaign is willing to pay millions in fees in order to accept unsecured contributions on their donation page without the CVV code. Attorney Kenneth Sukhia analyzed the GAI’s findings and this revelation in the following way in a separate report.
“As GAI points out, if a campaign is truly seeking to do all it can to prevent illicit contributions, there is no reason not to employ these basic fraud prevention tools. First, these tools are easily installed, and once set up, operate with a minimum of administrative oversight by the vendor. They are fully automated, but can be easily re-calibrated as called for. “
“Under these circumstances, a campaign’s decision to turn off either of these systems despite the increased fees raises legitimate questions as to a campaign’s knowing failure to use its best efforts to comply with the laws prohibiting foreign contributions. Indeed, it’s reasonable to ask why any campaign would ever opt to pay card issuers more for less information and less security. More importantly, why pay card issuers more when doing so lessens a campaign’s ability to comply with the law? It’s hard to imagine any campaign would pay extra for less security and marketing intelligence, unless it stood to benefit in some way from doing so.”
“Because a campaign’s decision to opt out of the standard security measures and to pay more to receive less information about their contributors defies all conventional campaign logic, and because it is difficult to identify a more plausible motive, there is reason to suspect that such decisions may be motivated by the belief that more money could be raised through foreign contributions than lost in added fees by declining security tools designed to stop them.”
OFA isn’t run by amateurs and has a highly sophisticated online presence. OFA is known as the “gold standard” in online technology with a Facebook co-founder, veteran YouTube videographer and an award-winning CNN producer keeping everything running smoothly.
Not to mention, the campaign obviously sees the benefits in using a CVV code to prevent fraud. After all, OFA uses a CVV security code for merchandise purchases. To purchase a sweatshirt or other item in the OFA store, a CVV code must be entered at check out, but the donation page does not require a credit card security code to be used. In addition, the chief technology officer of the Obama campaign, Harper Reed, is a former chief technology officer of the T-shirt company Threadless. Threadless requires a CVV code for online purchases. They clearly know how CVV codes work.
As of September 26, 2012, the Obama campaign has raised $271,327,755 in contributions under $200 for the 2012 cycle. In 2008, it was $335,139,233. The Romney campaign has raised just $58,456,968 in contributions under $200 and has all CVV and online security measures in place. In total, the Obama campaign raised $500 million online in 2008 with $335 million in contributions--more than half--falling under the $200 reporting requirement. Obama has raised more online funds than any campaign in history.
As reported over the weekend, the Obama campaign raised $181 million in September alone--only 2 percent of those donations are required to be reported to the FEC.
The campaign said that just over 1.8 million people made donations to the campaign last month. According to the campaign, over 500k of these were brand-new donors, having neither given in 2008 nor 2012. 98% of contributions were under the reporting threshold of $250. Of these, the average contribution was $53. [It's] really a tale of two worlds. 35k people gave an average of $2,600, while just over 1.7 million people gave an average of $53. Half the campaign's haul came from people giving around the maximum amount and half from people who don't have to be disclosed. Seems a bit odd. The average of $53 from small donors is particularly noteworthy. Contributions under $200 don't have to be disclosed, but the campaign still has to keep track of the donor's name, in case subsequent donations push their contribution over the reporting threshold. For contributions under $50, however, the campaign doesn't even have to keep track of the donor's name. It is effectively considered a "petty cash" donation. A person could theoretically make 10 $49 donations and never be reported, even though their total contributions are above the FEC's reporting threshold. With an average donation of $53 from small donors, Obama has A LOT of donors who will never be disclosed and whose names aren't even known to the campaign. Tens of millions of dollars worth.
As previously mentioned, the GAI report mentions campaigns have an obligation to protect against illegal campaign contributions. The law under U.S. Code makes it illegal for campaigns or political committees to accept direct or indirect contributions of money from foreign nationals. It is also illegal for a campaign or committee to “solicit, accept, or receive a contribution from a foreign national." Penalties for violations are stiff, according to the report.
While no person can be held accountable under the law for violations he or she is powerless to prevent or for violations of which a person had no knowledge, the law recognizes that to permit meaningful enforcement a person cannot escape responsibility for a crime by deliberately ignoring facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that a crime is most likely being committed. Moreover, the FEC regulations make it clear that a campaign official cannot avoid criminal culpability by ignoring facts that would lead a reasonable person to inquire whether foreign nationals are contributing funds to the campaign.
DIRECT SOLICITATIONS FROM OFA TO FOREIGN NATIONALS AND THE ONLINE PAPER TRAIL
The internet for the Obama campaign has proved to be a cash cow, but it's also provided a digital paper trail of potential illegal activity for investigators. When foreign bloggers received donation solicitations from the Obama campaign, they wrote about it online. GAI found their sites and documented their experiences. Social media accomplished the same thing--an online trail of Obama campaign solicitations to foreign nationals.
1. In July and August, a Chinese blogger reposts letters he has received from the Obama campaign, each of which contains a solicitation for $3 or $5 (note that these smaller donations don’t require the campaign to keep any record of them).118 Markosweb states that 87.8% of the traffic flowing to the site comes from China while only 4.5% is from the United States. The website contains hyperlinks that lead to the campaign’s donation page. The website also contains graphics showing the disparity between Romney’s and the President’s fundraising and a countdown clock to the date of the election. Other than the campaign solicitation letters, the website is in Chinese characters.
2. On August 9th, 2012 the Obama campaign sent a solicitation letter to “Hikemt Hadjy-Zadh,” an Azerbaijani citizen. His email address is on an Azerbaijani domain and he posts numerous solicitation letters he has received from the Obama campaign. Mr. Hadjy-Zadh reposts the complete letters on a discussion forum, including numerous hyperlinks that go directly to the campaign’s donation page.
3. A writer in Vietnam writes on a website for the Vietnam Institute for Development Studies (a government-backed think tank) and posts emails he has received from my.barackobama.com with more than 24 total links to the campaign’s donate page embedded in the emails. The website is in the Vietnamese language, hosted on a Vietnamese server, and uses a Vietnamese domain address. In one instance, a letter from Mitch Stewart, Director of the Obama campaign’s “Organizing for America,” asks for donations. Ironically, Stewart laments that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is reportedly taking money from foreign sources. The reader is then prompted to give his name and email address and thereafter begins receiving solicitation letters for donations.
4. A Dutch blogger writing in Dutch on a Dutch website reprints an email from March 22, 2010 in which President Obama thanks his supporters for their help. “You’re welcome, Mr. President,” he writes back.
5. The Dutch blog “His Dirk” received a donation request from the campaign. Aware of the U.S. law, the blogger decided not to contribute. The blogger observed, “I imagine many non- Americans have money transferred to the Obama campaign. It’s just too easy.”
6. A member of the Italian Radical Socialist movement and an administrator of their website reposts solicitations from the Obama campaign which he reports receiving regularly for three years. “And because we are three years in his mailing list...But frankly after 3 years his letters excite me much less...”
7. A Japanese blogger named Isogaya posts a link to the Obama campaign’s donation page. When posting the link, Isogaya notes that an option in giving would be to give a gift card.
8. A Norwegian blogger posts a solicitation from the Obama campaign, including the link to the donate page. When another blogger opines that non-U.S. citizens cannot contribute because of American law, the blogger responds in Norwegian,“I have in practice given money to Obama, I had done it.”
9. A blogger in Egypt who serves on the board of the Union of Arab Bloggers posts the solicitation letters he reports to regularly receive from the Obama campaign.127 “We as Arabs and Muslims” support the “Democratic party, compared to the Republican Party,” but notes his objection to the President’s stand on gay marriage.
Although GAI's findings were most prominent with Obama for America, the “CCV loophole” is a problem across the political spectrum. The report found nearly half of Congress is at least vulnerable to fraud and foreign donations.
Of the 446 House and Senate members who have an online donation page, 47.3% do not require the three or four digit credit card security number (officially called the Card Verification Value, or the CVV) for Internet contributions.
During his run for U.S. Senate, then Republican candidate Marco Rubio’s campaign donation website didn’t have CVV protection. The protection was put in place in May 2012 after the campaign was over. The report alleges the connection to foreign websites could be a violation of the Federal Election Commission solicitation laws and at minimum put Rubio at risk for fraud in his campaign.
The Government Accountability Institute found considerable international interest in the Rubio campaign, including significant foreign traffic going to the website marcorubioforussenate.co
m. Links on foreign websites often took the form of videos that featured links to “donate” to the Rubio campaign.
Sukhia also mentioned the Rubio campaign in his anaylsis of the report.
“The Government Accountability Institute found considerable international interest in the Rubio campaign, including significant foreign traffic going to the website marcorubioforussenate.co
“GAI found numerous video links on foreign websites that featured running ads to “donate” to the Rubio campaign.”
Although campaigns may have CVV in place, organizations they take money from often times do not. For example, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has accepted more than $5.7 million from ActBlue, a fundraising organization that does not require U.S. citizenship verification or a CVV code when accepting contributions.
Because the problems of potential fraud due to a lack of CVV use are so widespread, GAI created a 50-state interactive map to show which members of Congress lack standard secure campaign donation websites.
SOLUTION FOR OBAMA CAMPAIGN
In his 2010 State of the Union Address, President Obama said, “I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities.”
In this situation, the foreign donation problem coming from online sources can be solved and President Obama’s promise of transparency can be kept in one click by enabling all security protections and releasing the names and records on all transactions under $200 to verify Obama for America is a clean campaign operating within FEC law.
Overall, major reforms are needed to ensure foreign contributions are not interfering with or influencing elections in the United States.
Obama for America did not return calls for comment. http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2012/10/08/exposing_barack_obamas_illegal_foreign_campaign_money_loophole