scandal

Plato Told Hillary

 


Hillary’s Nipponized bit of the Sixth Avenue el hasn’t come back to haunt us yet, but it surely will.

Originally posted, with great fanfare, at The Ancient & Noble Order of the Gormogons. You have no idea what we had to promise to get them to agree to let us use it. We don’t want to talk about it. ~ Ed.

Posted by — ‘Puter

‘Puter awoke this morning to the crew on Morning Joe announcing in Very Serious Voices ™ the New York Times broke another Clinton Family scandal.

‘Puter yawned, assuming this would be another quickly dismissed “the Clintons are on the take” disclosure, one of which the media would quickly tire. Hey, ‘Puter remembers the Clinton-Media Complex from way back in Bill’s White House days.

Not so fast, though. Sure, this scandal’s about the Clintons and their congenital lust for money and power, no matter how dirty the source. But it’s also more than that, and ‘Puter thinks this scandal just may have staying power.

IRS Scandal: Playing “count the lies” with Lois Lerner

After the revelations today about Lois Lerner, and her emails to her colleagues, perhaps quite a few of the victims of the IRS “special treatment” for conservative organizations would be wanting a good, stiff drink. While it might be a little reassuring to find out that Lerner really was behind the targeting of Tea Party organizations, what does that mean now? True, it’s come out that Lerner was communicating via email about the “very dangerous” matter of dealing with Tea Party organizations, but what now?

Lerner remains out of the loop, but she is still being paid by the taxpayers, and members of Congress have started screaming for accountability, but it’s not likely that anything meaningful will be done, at least not during this administration.

The activities that got Lerner in hot water in the first place are still happening now, and it’s not likely that Congress will manage to get bi-partisan support for any legislation that could possibly address the matter. That’s unlikely in itself, because this is a regulatory issue, as opposed to a legislative one, as in policies and procedures within the IRS have been misused for the political gain of the administration. However, at least one “mystery” has been solved. This probably is part of the reason why Lerner had pleaded the Fifth in her testimony.

Otherwise, the reaction from The Hill was at least a little interesting, with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) leading the charge to hold Lerner accountable:

Just what can the NSA do with information

Micky Aldridge (CC)

How many times have you thought about returning an email to someone, and realized that you couldn’t immediately find that person’s original message? Stands to reason that once you’re at that point, you end up dropping the cursor into the little search bar that’s sitting on the top of just about every email client and webmail page, started typing in the person’s name, to run a search. It’s something that just about everyone with an email account anywhere has done, and taken for granted. Now, imagine if you couldn’t do that - or you couldn’t search for a specific topic within your emails.

Well, that’s what the NSA would like to have people believe about their system. According to a report from Pro Publica, the agency can’t seem to fulfill Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that happen to include at least a single domain for the outside source of emails, and a specific time period to search for said emails.

“There’s no central method to search an email at this time with the way our records are set up, unfortunately,” NSA Freedom of Information Act officer Cindy Blacker told me last week.

The system is “a little antiquated and archaic,” she added.

Big Brother Government Says “Trust Me”

Big Brother Obama

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.” — George Orwell, 1984

On May 5th, speaking at Ohio State University, Barack Obama lamented that “Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”

Obama has it exactly wrong. It is not that our experiment in self-rule is a sham, or that it can’t be trusted, it is that the experiment has been undermined by the growing power of government in our lives, the very danger of which the Founding Fathers warned us. James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution” declared that “The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” Obama tries to convince us of just the opposite; namely, that we should place our trust in a benevolent government which will take care of us, and all we have to do is give up a little freedom.

White House analyst warned against Solyndra loan

Solyndra

Don’t look now, but the Solyndra scandal is coming back up in the media. The now-defunct, politically-connected green energy company was given a sweetheart $500+ million loan from the Obama Administration back in 2009. By August 2011, Solyndra had filed for bankruptcy, leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions.

Supporters of heavily subsidized green energy projects downplayed cronyism, which runs rampant in the Obama Administration. But new e-mails show that a White House analyst warned that giving taxpayer money Solyndra would be a big mistake (emphasis mine):

As the Obama administration moved last year to bail out Solyndra, the embattled flagship of the president’s initiative to promote alternative energy, a White House budget analyst calculated that millions of taxpayer dollars might be saved by cutting the government’s losses, shuttering the company immediately and selling its assets, according to a congressional investigation.

Even so, senior officials in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget did not discourage the Energy Department from proceeding with its plan to restructure a federal loan to Solyndra — a move that put private investors ahead of taxpayers for repayment if the company closed, the investigation by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee found.

Beltway Lotharios and the Cycle of Scandal

For the last two weeks the media has gorged on a non-stop litany of stories concerning the single most important issue facing our nation. Would that be the “unexpected” reports of almost non-existent private sector job growth and an economy that, despite Obama’s reassurances, may be on the brink of a double-dip recession? No. Is it Obama’s violation of the War Powers Act with our continued “kinetic military action” in Libya? Nuh-uh. Maybe it’s Sixth Circuit’s review of the ObamaCare case (nope) or the Federal Reserve’s warning that the political body must act responsibly in order to stave off an economic collapse? Wrong again.

Based on the 24-hour saturation in the news cycle and the sheer number of stories written and aired, clearly the most important issue facing our nation is that a skinny New Yorker with an incredibly overinflated sense of his own worth had to finally admit, after days of vehement protests to the contrary, that it was indeed he who sent the lewd photographs of his genitalia, as well as sexually charged and explicit texts, to college-aged women. These women, who include a porn star, are young enough to be his daughters.

And so unravels the scandal of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), possibly the most obnoxious and arrogant member of Congress now that former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) was defeated in the last election. Weiner, considered a rising star in the Democrat Party and a likely candidate to be the next mayor of New York, instead is tearfully admitting to the nation his indiscretions which have been going on for several years, and with at least a half dozen women. Watching his fall from glory, a Brooklyn-born Icarus plummeting towards earth, the proverbial wax of his wings melted by his own flaming ego, it is hard not to feel just a little sorry for him…at least until you remember that these indiscretions occurred both before and after his marriage to his wife Huma, who is now pregnant.

A Defense of the Free Market

One of the most common refrains from the political left and the media is that, regarding the economy, conservatives advocate for unchecked freedom for big business to do whatever it wants to do, and for no government interference with business at all. These assertions stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of conservatism.

For the conservative, the issue comes down to the proper role of government. To have no government at all is anarchy, and certainly no conservative would argue that. So the question is not whether or not there should be government involvement (there should), but what level of government involvement is appropriate.

When we look at the biggest financial scandals of the last decade (Enron, WorldCom, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, etc.), they all have one thing in common. At some point, whether through active complicity or negligence, government played a huge role in allowing the scandals to occur. And with every scandal, it becomes an excuse, or rather an imperative, to increase the level of government involvement to keep it from occurring again.

Some of the major scandals have occurred because the regulatory oversight assigned to one government agency or another was either inadequately enforced, or government employees were co-opted into the fraudulent scheme. Others occur because our statutory and regulatory law has become so complex that it is inevitable that a crafty thief will be able to find technical loopholes that fulfill the letter of the law while being contradictory to the clear intent of the law. Either way, we continue to add layer after layer of government bureaucracy, regulation and complexity, and yet the scandals keep getting more and more expensive. That is because the more complex the law, the easier it is to find a technical Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card.

Mary Landrieu finds herself in another scandal: Louisiana Democrat claims Washington as her home on federal filings

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is under fire yet again. The Louisiana Democrat has been caught up in a scandal involving her use of taxpayer-funded charter flights around the state she represents that also included stops at campaign fundraisers. But she’s now facing accusations that she doesn’t actually live in Louisiana, according to the Washington Post:

In Washington, Sen. Mary Landrieu lives in a stately, $2.5 million brick manse she and her husband built on Capitol Hill.

Here in Louisiana, however, the Democrat does not have a home of her own. She is registered to vote at a large bungalow in New Orleans that her parents have lived in for many decades, according to a Washington Post review of Landrieu’s federal financial disclosures and local property and voting records.

On a statement of candidacy Landrieu filed with the Federal Election Commission in January, she listed her Capitol Hill home as her address. But when qualifying for the ballot in Louisiana last week, she listed the family’s raised-basement home here on South Prieur Street.

Federal judge orders Eric Holder to turn over a list Fast and Furious documents to a House committee

A federal judge has delivered a blow to the White House and the Justice Department’s attempt to keep information related to Operation Fast and Furious out of the hands of members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Although she didn’t order the release of the documents themselves, Judge Amy Berman Jackson did order Attorney General Eric Holder’s department to send a list of the documents to the committee:

Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the Justice Department must provide the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with a list of documents — but not the documents themselves — withheld on the gunrunning operation.

The agency has until Oct. 1 to turn over the documents, Jackson said during a status hearing.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight panel, cheered the ruling.

“This administration has been so intent on hiding the contents of these documents that it allowed Attorney General Holder to be held in contempt instead of just turning them over to Congress,” Issa said. “The privilege log will bring us closer to finding out why the Justice Department hid behind false denials in the wake of reckless conduct that contributed to the violent deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and countless Mexican citizens.”

The House should pass the USA FREEDOM Act as-is and dare Obama to veto it

There’s some very concerning news on the push inside the House of Representatives to end the NSA’s bulk data collection programs. Negotiations with the White House could mean that the USA FREEDOM Act will be further watered down before it heads to the floor for a vote, potentially putting the best NSA reform measure in jeopardy:

Privacy advocates are worried that a bill intended to reform the surveillance activities of the National Security Agency (NSA) is being watered down before it heads to the House floor.

“Last stage negotiations” between members of the House and the Obama administration could significantly weaken provisions in the NSA bill, people familiar with the discussions say.

“Behind the scenes, there’s some nervousness,” one House aide said.
[…]
While pro-reform advocacy groups and members hailed the House bill as a positive first step, many lamented the revisions and said the legislation will be in trouble on the floor if it undergoes further changes.

There is a “growing chorus of concern” that the bill that makes it to the floor for a vote could be a less meaningful version of what passed the Judiciary and Intelligence committees with overwhelming bipartisan support, the aide said.

Though the measure was somewhat watered down before it passed the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month, the USA FREEDOM Act remained the best of the proposed measures to end the NSA’s bulk data collection programs, and it has broad, bipartisan support. Further changes could make the reforms in the measure unacceptable to privacy advocates both inside and outside of Congress.


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