Category Archives: “Intelligence”

And you thought above-ground Washington was slow…

Sinkhole of bureaucracy

The trucks full of paperwork come every day, turning off a country road north of Pittsburgh and descending through a gateway into the earth. Underground, they stop at a metal door decorated with an American flag.

WHERE GOVERNMENT FALLS APART

First in a series examining the failures at the heart of troubled federal systems.

Behind the door, a room opens up as big as a supermarket, full of five-drawer file cabinets and people in business casual. About 230 feet below the surface, there is easy-listening music playing at somebody’s desk.

This is one of the weirdest workplaces in the U.S. government — both for where it is and for what it does.

Here, inside the caverns of an old Pennsylvania limestone mine, there are 600 employees of the Office of Personnel Management. Their task is nothing top-secret. It is to process the retirement papers of the government’s own workers.

Is there anything that works in the Obama Administration?

The Pentagon Spent $2.7 Billion on an Intelligence System That Doesn’t Work

Here’s another item for the (long) list of spectacular waste in the Pentagon’s budget: a $2.7-billion intelligence program that’s supposed to help Army troops on the ground collect and use intelligence on enemy fighters. It sounds like a good idea, but the thing is, the Army’s Distributed Common Ground System doesn’t actually do that, according to report from Foreign Policy. The article cites an internal assessment of the DCGS’s effectiveness, long requested by Congress but kept under wraps by the Pentagon for eight months. Probably because they didn’t feel like talking about such a spectacular failure.

The existence of DCGS is hardly a secret. Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics — all the major defense contractors — were all involved in creating it, and it’s featured on the Army’s website as “an enterprise system that will replace the Army’s multiple intelligence ground processing systems currently in the field.” The Army even has promotional videos showing DCGS in action. But according to some troops, the DCGS is very difficult to use and too slow to be practical for the on-the-ground situations for which it was designed.

5 Ways The Government Keeps Native Americans In Poverty

Forbes

The federal government is responsible for managing Indian affairs for the benefit of all Indians. But by all accounts the government has failed to live up to this responsibility. As a result, Native American reservations are among the poorest communities in the United States. Here’s how the government keeps Native Americans in poverty.

Indian lands are owned and managed by the federal government. (And we’ve seen what great stewards they are…)

Nearly every aspect of economic development is controlled by federal agencies. (Again, refer to the debacle of Obamacare…)

Reservations have a complex legal framework that hinders economic growth.

Energy regulations make it difficult for tribes to develop their resources.

The federal government has repeatedly mismanaged Indian assets. (See the aforementioned…)

Give it away, give it away, give it away now…

U.S. to relinquish remaining control over the Internet

U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move that pleased international critics but alarmed some business leaders and others who rely on the smooth functioning of the Web.

Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash last year to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance.

The change would end the long-running contract between the Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a California-based nonprofit group. That contract is set to expire next year but could be extended if the transition plan is not complete.

Of course he will…

Obama threatens vetoes of bills requiring him to follow the law

SunKingObama-466x600President Obama is threatening to veto a law that would allow Congress to sue him in federal courts for arbitrarily changing or refusing to enforce federal laws because it “violates the separation of powers” by encroaching on his presidential authority.

“[T]he power the bill purports to assign to Congress to sue the President over whether he has properly discharged his constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed exceeds constitutional limitations,” the White House Office of Management and Budget said Wednesday in a statement of administration policy. “Congress may not assign such power to itself, nor may it assign to the courts the task of resolving such generalized political disputes.”

The lead sponsor of the measure, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said it was designed to curb Obama’s abuse of presidential authority, most notably in his frequent changes to Obamacare.

“We have pursued certain remedies afforded to Congress to address executive overreach but these efforts have been thwarted,” Gowdy said. “This bill is necessary; it will give Congress the authority to defend this branch of government as the Framers and our fellow citizens would expect.”

Obama also threatened to veto another bill by Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., which would require the administration to explain decisions not to enforce laws when those decisions are rooted in policy concerns rather than just constitutional concerns (which the Justice Department is already required to do).

White House Was Aware Of CIA’s Attempt To File Criminal Complaint Against Senate Staffers; Did Nothing To Stop It

TechDirt

obama_mirror_chaunceyAs the scandal over the CIA spying on Senate staffers charged with oversight of the CIA deepens, it’s now come out that the White House was fully aware that the CIA was pushing forward with a criminal complaint against those very same staffers and did nothing to stop it. It’s been reported that the White House is standing strongly behind the CIA on this one, and that report confirms some of the serious Constitutional/separation of powers questions that have been raised over this incident.

Having the White House be supportive of the CIA not only spying on its overseers, but then (even more ridiculously) filing a criminal complaint against those same staffers for doing their job speaks volumes about how this White House views Congressional oversight of its giant spying machine. It views it with contempt. It only reinforces how the claims that have been stated repeatedly over the past few months that there is plenty of oversight of the intelligence community are completely hogwash.

America’s Dumbest Congresswoman?

It’s got to be Sheila Jackson Lee. This is classic Lee:

Maybe I should offer a good thanks to the distinguished members of the majority — the Republicans, my chairman and others — for giving us an opportunity to have a deliberative constitutional discussion that reinforces the sanctity of this nation and how well it is that we have lasted some 400 years, operating under a constitution that clearly defines what is constitutional and what is not.

Hmm, that would date the Constitution to approximately 1614.

While we are on the subject of Lee, let’s not forget that she is also one of the most obnoxious people in Washington. Anyone who can’t guess the age of the Constitution to within a century and a half and who habitually addresses a staffer as “you stupid m*****f*****” should probably be run out of office. Fortunately for Sheila Jackson Lee, she’s a Democrat, so she has no worries.

Obama’s Free Lunch One-Man Government

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” ― Margaret Thatcher

As the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows, confidence in President Obama’s ability to handle the economy or put the country on the right path continues to decline. But with more than two and a half years to go until his successor is chosen, the president is barreling ahead and attempting to implement his liberal agenda without congressional assent or much public support. This is a dubious strategy for any president, let alone one whose approval ratings are at all-time lows with little prospect that they will recover as he heads inevitably to the lame duck portion of his second term.

But in order to counteract these trends, the president has chosen what, at least in theory, are the most populist measures available to him. Hence, the “give America a raise” theme he introduced in his State of the Union speech in January that sought to pin a comeback on an effort to implement a hefty increase in the minimum wage. The follow-up comes this week as he builds on that sweeping measure with another designed to play to the same populist sentiment: changing the regulations about overtime payments. The law requires workers to be paid overtime for the hours they labor above the normal confines of the workweek. But the same laws have always exempted supervisors and management employees from these regulations. Obama wants to change that to allow more of those who run the workplace to benefit along with their employees with extra pay for extra hours.

But the truth about this proposal is that it is just as much an example of liberal economic snake oil as the minimum wage. Promising people a free lunch is always popular. But someone has to pay for it, and those who will be most affected by the president’s fiat will not be rich or powerful. That the president is shoving this down the throat of the country in a manner that undermines constitutional checks and balances that provide for accountability shows how desperate the White House has become for cheap and ultimately ephemeral political wins.

Buyer’s remorse quickly setting in for New Yorkers

De Blasio’s Approval Drops to 39 Percent

You break it, you bought it…

Just barely into his third month of office, New York mayor Bill de Blasio is already suffering in the polls. In a Wall Street Journal​/NBC 4 New York-Marist poll of registered voters, de Blasio eked out a paltry 39 percent approval rating for his job performance with 57 percent of respondents saying the mayor was doing only either fair or poorly.

However, while correspondents think the mayor is doing his job badly, the majority of New Yorkers still have a favorable opinion of him personally. Only 33 percent of respondents viewed de Blasio the man unfavorably while 59 percent viewed him unfavorably.

De Blasio was inaugurated just after midnight on January 1 after a landslide election over his Republican opponent, Joe Lhota. Having won nearly three out of every four votes, de Blasio began his tenure with a 64 percent approval rating.

Mumia, Adegbile and the Rule of Law

CommentaryMagazine

Two days after a shocking defeat, liberals are still grousing about the Senate spiking the nomination of former NAACP Legal Fund Director Debo Adegbile to be head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. What really burns them up is not just that Republicans successfully filibustered one of President Obama’s choices for a government post but that six Democrats joined with them. But rather than take responsibility for putting forward a controversial figure who was sure to provoke bitter opposition from both sides of the aisle, liberals are reverting to form by blaming their defeat on conservative demagoguery and racism.

This is more than disingenuous. Adegbile lost for one reason and one reason only and its name is Mumia Abu-Jamal, the radical who gunned down Philadelphia Policeman Daniel Faulkner in a cold-blooded murder in 1981. Under the leadership of Adegbile, the NAACP Legal Fund worked on Abu-Jamal’s appeal. The White House and Adegbile’s defenders in the press say blaming the lawyer for his client’s crime is both unfair and an assault on our judicial system. But contrary to this spin, Adegbile and the NAACP were not a latter day version of patriot John Adams defending the British soldiers who perpetrated the Boston Massacre. Far from merely writing briefs on Constitutional issues involving Abu-Jamal’s conviction, Adegbile’s lawyers were part of the propaganda campaign aimed at besmirching the victim and the Philadelphia Police Department and portraying a killer who was literally caught red-handed with the murder weapon as a heroic martyr. Under these circumstances, it’s little wonder that some Democrats wanted no part of the nomination, especially those like Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey, Jr. and Delaware’s Chris Coons voted against cloture for the nomination, whose constituents know the facts of the case and despicable work of Abu-Jamal’s cheerleaders.

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