corruption

Incompetent and Corrupt: Scandals Pile Up for “No Drama” Obama

Six years into his presidency, Barack “No Drama” Obama has been anything but drama-free. His presidency has been one series of scandals after another, the magnitude of each increasing with each successive revelation. Initially, these scandals centered around partisan bullying, political cronyism, and general corruption, but as his second term unfold, more and more the scandals involve dead Americans.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the scandals surrounding the Obama presidency is that the sheer volume seems to inoculate him from being brought down by any one scandal. No sooner do we start making progress investigating one scandal than another one breaks. It’s like watching a dog chase a ball but suddenly stop and change directions moments before retrieving it when another ball is tossed in the opposite direction.

The current scandal involves Obama’s decision to negotiate with terrorists. In violation of the absolutely clear requirements of the law, the Obama administration revealed last week that it had negotiated the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by Taliban forces for five years. In exchange for Bergdahl, Obama released five senior Taliban fighters who are responsible for the deaths of countless Americans.

The outrage surrounding this exchange is multi-faceted. First, there is the fact that Obama broke long-standing U.S. policy of never negotiating with terrorists. Even were that not the policy, Obama’s negotiating skills were exposed as horrendously deficient considering the Taliban gets five hardened fighters in exchange for one relatively low-level American soldier.

Disgraced ex-IRS official will not get immunity in exchange for testimony

When disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner appears before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday, she will not receive immunity for any testimony she gives, according to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA):

“Her attorney indicates now that she will testify. We’ve had a back and forth negotiation,” Issa told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. “But quite frankly, we believe that evidence that we’ve gathered causes her in her best interest to be summoned to testify.”

The evidence that Issa, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, has obtained are emails showing that Lerner drafted the proposed IRS regulations that would restrict political speech of nonprofit groups that engage in public policy discussions. The regulations are currently being considered by the IRS.

Wallace asked whether the House Oversight Committee offered Lerner immunity in exchange for her testimony. “We did not,” Issa replied, adding later that he believes the disgraced IRS official will answer all the committee’s questions about the powerful tax agencies targeting of conservative groups.

Integrity Crumbles within the “Nixonian” Obama Administration

This past week brought forth a deluge of breaking news stories regarding scandalous behavior within various agencies and departments of the Obama Administration. They all seem to point to the same thing: government overreach. Furthermore, they all have been earning Obama a litany of Nixon comparisons.

In case you missed them, here’s my (link fest!) summary of events:

1) Last week’s Benghazi revelations were twofold:

Heritage Foundations releases 2012 Index of Economic Freedom

On Thursday, the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal released the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom, an annual report on economic freedom across the globe that measures interventionist government policies and ranks countries accordingly.

Ed Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation, gives us an idea of what we’ll find in this year’s report, and it’s not pretty:

As Friedrich A. Hayek foresaw decades ago, “The guiding principle in any attempt to create a world of free men must be this: a policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy.” Thus, the battle of ideas must also be a battle for the meaning of the very words with which we debate. Is it “progressive” to utilize the coercive power of the state to redistribute and level incomes within a society? Is it “liberal” to build a massive state apparatus to regulate conditions of employment, usage of energy, and access to capital? The answers to such questions will determine how we live as individuals in the 21st century.

The 2012 Index of Economic Freedom documents a global economy that is engaged in this evolving battle between the forces of government and free markets. Today’s troubles have been neither accidental nor inevitable. The problems we face are the outcomes of politically driven and economically self-defeating policy decisions that have turned an economic slowdown into an accelerating decline.

Unfortunately, the report shows that the United States has, once again, lost more economic freedoms as corruption, cronyism, government spending, and a poor monetary policy continue to drag us down. While we are still ranked as “mostly free,” we can no longer say our economy is the ambition of the world.

Help Wanted: Seeking the Washingtons and Jeffersons of Today

“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.” - John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756

This week I had a discussion with a new friend about politics and the state of our nation. I was commenting on the corruption so rampant in government and he replied that we can no longer expect politicians to have integrity, and must be content to pick between the least corrupt of the candidates, or the ones that will direct the fruits of that corruption towards us.

Such cynicism is certainly understandable; just look at the politicians of our day. Bill Clinton’s legacy will forever be linked to a stained blue dress and what the definition of “is” is. Al Gore is a billionaire, becoming the false-prophet of fear mongering with the junk science of global warming (or “climate change” as it is now called). Charlie Rangel, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful committee chair in government which controls tax policy, is under investigation for tax fraud. Our Treasury Secretary is an admitted tax cheat, and many in Obama’s cabinet and senior staff have also had tax troubles. Ted Kennedy was a notorious drunk and a womanizer.

A New “Right” du Jour

Has anyone noticed how much our society now talks about their “rights”? President Obama just signed a massive bill, clocking in at well over 2500 pages (between the original bill and the reconciliation), which creates huge new deficits, another gargantuan bureaucracy, and allows the government ever more power to intrude into the private lives of its sovereign citizens. This was all done under the guise of a newly found “right” to health care.

In 1973, the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Warren Burger, discovered a “right” to privacy that had managed to elude the Founding Fathers and all of the subsequent legislatures and courts for almost 200 years, and under this right America has callously witnessed the extermination of over 50 million of its most vulnerable; the unborn.

This week it was announced that the public transit system of a south Atlanta metro county was bankrupt and services were discontinued. As I watched the news coverage I listened to a young man tell me that the transit system, plagued with corruption and mismanagement, should be made to continue running (no mention on who gets to pay the bill to make sure that it keeps operating) because public transportation is a “basic human right”? Really? Public transportation is a right?

New Hillary email controversy perfectly describes the federal government

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No, not that email controversy. No, not that one either. This one:

In case you have a less than 3-minute attention span, I’ll summarize.

In July 2015, David Sirota of the IB Times submitted a FOIA request for Hillary Clinton’s emails from the State Dept about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. As the trade deal is a public policy and Hillary a public official partly responsible for arranging it, State agreed. He received a response that those emails would be ready for him in April 2016.

April came and went, of course, without the emails being released. One week ago, Charlotte Duckett at State followed up, saying the relevant emails had been located and are now being “prepared for review” and would be ready for release by…wait for it…November 31, 2016. Three weeks after the election.

In case you’re not familiar with the Gregorian calendar, November 31st does not exist. There are only 30 days in November.

How Washington Profits by Pillaging America

Culture of Washington

I’ve been banging the drum for years about Washington being a racket for the benefit of politicians, cronyists, bureaucrats, contractors, lobbyists, interest groups, and other insiders.

I’ve written about horrific examples of bloated spending that line the pockets of the well connected.

I’ve shared disgusting examples of Democrat sleaze and Republican sleaze.

I’ve exposed rampant corruption with insiders getting rich at our expense.

I’ve pontificated about fat-cat bureaucrats who get paid more and do less.

But I’ve never figured out an effective way of combining all these issues.

So I’m very happy that Scott Beyer of the American Enterprise Institute combines these themes in a very good article about our self-serving political class.

Here’s some of what he wrote.

Repeal the 16th Amendment: Missing emails are just a symptom of what’s wrong with the IRS

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says that he’s unable to provide the emails that “mysteriously” disappeared, even though he originally promised that all emails would be turned over to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

In this video created by Repeal 16, they show that some legislators are standing up to him, but others feel a need to apologize to Koskinen, effectively allowing him to cover up the corruption rampant in the IRS:

As Congressman Paul Ryan said, “The apology that ought to be given is to the American taxpayer.” Why should we apologize to the man that is obstructing the investigation into the IRS?

According to its website, Repeal 16 is “a national coalition of activists and organizations taking action to repeal the 16th Amendment, and end our corrupting tax system and the oppressive IRS.” That description speaks to the larger problem. The missing emails and Lois Lerner are just symptoms of what’s wrong. As long as the 16th Amendment sticks around, there will be abuse of taxpayers and corruption from the IRS.

The Face of Cronyism: Four Ex-Im Bank officials investigated for improper gifts and kickbacks

House conservatives already want to shutdown the Export-Import Bank because it has become synonymous with cronyism. But a new report from the Wall Street Journal is going to give them even more firepower for their arguments (emphasis added):

The U.S. Export-Import Bank has suspended or removed four officials in recent months amid investigations into allegations of gifts and kickbacks, as well as attempts to steer federal contracts to favored companies, several people familiar with the matter said.

One employee, Johnny Gutierrez, an official in the short-term trade finance division, allegedly accepted cash payments in exchange for trying to help a Florida company obtain U.S. government financing to export construction equipment to Latin America, according to a person familiar with the inquiry. Mr. Gutierrez was escorted from the Ex-Im Bank building in April, said two people familiar with the matter.
[…]
Of the four employees, Mr. Gutierrez’s responsibilities were most central to the agency’s core mission of financing exports. Two of the others are being investigated over allegations of improperly awarding contracts to help run the agency; the third is being investigated over allegations of accepting gifts on behalf of a company seeking financing, according to people familiar with the matter. The identities of the three couldn’t be fully corroborated.


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