Archive for the ‘Cronyism’ Category
In a surprise move late Friday, a key Democrat on the Federal Election Commission called for burdensome new rules on Internet-based campaigning, prompting the Republican chairman to warn that Democrats want to regulate online political sites and even news media like the Drudge Report.
Democratic FEC Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel announced plans to begin the process to win regulations on Internet-based campaigns and videos, currently free from most of the FEC’s rules. “A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long over due,” she said.
The power play followed a deadlocked 3-3 vote on whether an Ohio anti-President Obama Internet campaign featuring two videos violated FEC rules when it did not report its finances or offer a disclosure on the ads. The ads were placed for free on YouTube and were not paid advertising.
Under a 2006 FEC rule, free political videos and advocacy sites have been free of regulation in a bid to boost voter participation in politics. Only Internet videos that are placed for a fee on websites, such as the Washington Examiner, are regulated just like normal TV ads.
Ravel’s statement suggests that she would regulate right-leaning groups like America Rising that posts anti-Democrat YouTube videos on its website.
FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman, a Republican, said if regulation extends that far, then anybody who writes a political blog, runs a politically active news site or even chat room could be regulated. He added that funny internet campaigns like “Obama Girl,” and “Jib Jab” would also face regulations.
“I told you this was coming,” he told Secrets. Earlier this year he warned that Democrats on the panel were gunning for conservative Internet sites like the Drudge Report.
A top Department of Veterans Affairs official involved in the falsification of patient wait times was fired Friday, the first to be ousted under a new law meant to speed the removal of agency executives for misconduct or poor performance.
James Talton, former director of the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, was officially removed for neglect of duty, according to a press release from the agency.
Talton is no longer being paid. He has one week to appeal the termination to the Merit Systems Protection Board, which will then have 21 days to uphold or reverse the decision.
Talton is the first to be fired under a law signed in August giving the VA secretary greater discretion to fire or discipline members of the Senior Executive Service, the top tier of agency management. The law was passed in the wake of a national scandal over falsified waiting lists used to hide long delays in care.
The United States and Canada have suffered three attacks with apparent ties to terrorism in the span of a week, and a retired CIA case officer told TheBlaze he expects more will follow.
“I think the West is under attack,” said Brian Fairchild, who spent 20 years in the CIA’s clandestine service and has testified before Congress as a terrorism expert.
“I think that they’re responses to the ISIS and Al Qaeda requests for folks to go out and strike Americans any time, anywhere, any place that they can. That’s what this is turning out to be,” Fairchild said, speaking during an interview for an upcoming episode of TheBlaze TV’s For the Record.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security sent a memo on Oct. 11, warning that Islamic State sympathizers could carry out attacks on police and government personnel.
“What they would love is for there to be 50, 100, 1,000 attacks like that. Whether their followers will rise up and do that for them, we don’t know,” he said.
Fairchild said there is a real cause for concern: Groups like Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have had only limited success pushing American extremists to pull off “lone wolf” attacks, but the rapid expansion of the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, may have created enough momentum to finally push some of those radical individuals into action.
“When Baghdadi and ISIS says, ‘Hey guys, go out and find soldiers, intelligence, and police officers and kill them, don’t ask for anybody’s approval, just go out and do it,’ that seems to have had more resonance among these guys than all of the requests from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ‘Inspire’ magazine before that,” Fairchild said. ”That’s what the game-changer is.”
President Obama’s trusted senior advisor, Valerie Jarrett, was a key player in the effort to cover up that Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress about the Fast and Furious scandal, according to public records obtained by Judicial Watch.
The information is part of a Department of Justice (DOJ) “Vaughn index” detailing records about the gun-running operation known as Fast and Furious. JW had to sue the agency for the records after the Obama administration failed to provide them under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A federal court ordered the DOJ to provide the records over the agency’s objections. Yesterday JW reported on the broad information in the records, including that Obama asserted executive privilege for Holder’s wife as part of the administration’s efforts to cover up the scandal.
Practically lost in the 1,000-plus pages of records is an index that shows Jarrett was brought in to manage the fact that Holder lied to Congress after the story about the disastrous gun-running operation broke in the media. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ran the once-secret program that allowed guns from the U.S. to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels. Instead, federal law enforcement officers lost track of hundreds of weapons which have been used in an unknown number of crimes, including the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona.
The files received by JW include three electronic mails between Holder and Jarrett and one from former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke to Jarrett. The e-mails with Holder are all from October 4, 2011, a significant date because, on the evening of October 3rd, Sheryl Attkisson (then at CBS news) released documents showing that Holder had been sent a briefing paper on Operation Fast and Furious on June 5, 2010. The paper was from the director of the National Drug Intelligence Center, Michael Walther.
This directly contradicted Holder’s May 3, 2011 testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, during which he stated that he, “probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.” The October 4, 2011 date may also be significant because it came shortly after the August 30, 2011 resignation of U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke and reassignment of acting ATF director Kenneth Melson to the position of “senior forensics advisor” at DOJ.
The description of one of the e-mails, written from Jarrett to Holder, reads, “re: personnel issues.” Another, also from Jarrett, reads, “outlining and discussing preferred course of action for future responses in light of recent development in congressional investigation.” Unfortunately, the index is vague and that’s all the information we have about them. Nevertheless, given the timing and subject of these e-mails, it seems clear that Jarrett quickly became a key player in the Fast and Furious cover-up in the immediate aftermath of the revelation that Holder had lied to Congress.
The Obama administration is claiming executive privilege over more than 15,000 documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, including correspondence between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife, according to records received Wednesday night by the watchdog group Judicial Watch.
Last month, a federal judge ordered the Justice Department to release to Judicial Watch the list of documents, known as a “Vaughn index,” that it is withholding from the public, calling its requests for further delays “unconvincing.”
The 1,307-page Vaughn index lists 15,662 documents related to Operation Fast and Furious that the Obama administration is asserting executive privilege over—the first time that full list and description of the records has been released.
According to Judicial Watch, the withheld documents include communications between top officials at the Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), as well as with the United States Ambassador to Mexico.
The Obama administration is also asserting executive privilege over nearly 20 emails between Holder and his wife Sharon Malone.
“Obama’s executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement. “There is no precedent for President Obama’s Nixonian assertion of executive privilege over these ordinary government agency records. Americans will be astonished that Obama asserted executive privilege over Eric Holder’s emails to his wife about Fast and Furious.”
Judicial Watch also says the Justice Department is asserting privilege over publicly available press clips, letters from Congress, and inter-agency communications that would normally be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
The selection of Democratic political operative Ron Klain as Ebola czar is the latest example of President Obama “surround[ing] himself with loyalists” rather than qualified officials to deal with the nation’s crises, says Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.).
“One would think, faced with the prospect of an epidemic, the president would task an expert in epidemiology not an expert in political spin,” Sessions said in a statement on Friday. “The American people can have zero confidence in Ron Klain’s competence to carry out this critical role.”
Klain’s Democratic ties run deep: He previously served as chief of staff to vice presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, Gore’s general counsel on his recount committee in the 2000 election, and chief counsel during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s contentious confirmation hearings for conservative Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas.
Sessions said the “danger” of Ebola spreading is “profound,” and called for a ban on travel from Ebola-stricken countries, as well as increased security on the Mexico–U.S. border if the disease breaks out in Latin American.
It’s no secret that liberal Democrats want to turn 11 to 15 million illegal aliens into US citizens and registered Democrats. Barack Obama has been on the verge of using his executive powers to override Congress and grant amnesty and open the road to citizenship for the millions of illegals. I believe his whole purpose is to undermine traditional American patriotism and to secure millions of votes for his fellow Democrats throughout the country.
Evidently, one Department of Homeland Security official in the extremely liberal land of nuts, fruits and flakes, otherwise known as California, has taken Obama’s agenda to a new level. Mai Nhu Nguyen, who immigrated to the US from Vietnam and became a naturalized citizen the legal way works for the DHS’s Citizenship and Immigration Services division.
Nguyen was, as one person put it, holding a fire sale on US citizenship. She was caught selling citizenship and legal residency status papers to illegals for thousands of dollars. In one instance, she sold a coveted ‘green card’ or paperwork indicating that a person had legal immigrant status to a Vietnamese person for $1,000.
The FBI worked with the DHS Inspector General’s office on the case and found that Nguyen, 48 years old solicited bribes from Vietnamese immigrants resulting in her abusing her power to approve or deny applications for immigration status and benefits.
To avoid a lot of publicity, which would be very bad for Obama and California Democrats, the case against Nguyen was kept quiet and she agreed to a plea deal that could land her up to three years in prison.
A few days ago President Obama, in an interview he gave France’s Canal+ TV Channel, said that the American people need to be better educated about Islam, since US could and should be regarded as a Muslim country. He said that the number of Muslims residing in the US makes it “one of the biggest Muslim nations”.
In reality the US has one of the smallest percentages of Muslims of any Western country. The number of Muslims in the US is approximately 4.5 million, 1.5% of the population, one of the smallest minorities in the US. Since there are approximately 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, the number of Muslims in the US is approximately 0.3% of the world Muslim population. By comparison there are between approximately 6 million Jews in the US, who account for approximately a third of the world’s Jewish population. Whereas many Americans regard it as a society based on “Judeo-Christian values”, it is doubtful if there is one sane American who would define it as a Jewish country.
By President Obama’s yardstick, France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy and Holland should all be regarded as “Muslim nations”. In France, which has the biggest Muslim population in Europe, its 4.5 – 5 million Muslims account for 7.5% of the population. In most other Western European countries, Muslims account for approximately 3%-5% of the population.
The only EU citizens who regard their societies either as Muslim ones, or as societies that should be Muslim are those Muslim immigrants and the 2nd generation who have not succeeded in integrating into the societies in which they live, and as a result have become alienated from them. Even if half of Europe’s Muslims have this attitude (most likely the true number is far less), we are talking at most about 2%-3% of those countries.
After calling church sermons “fair game” for subpoena, Houston Mayor Annise Parker backed down Wednesday from the city’s effort to force local pastors to turn over speeches and papers related to a hotly contested transgender rights ordinance.
The city had asked five pastors for “all speeches, presentations, or sermons” on a variety of topics, including the mayor, and “gender identity.”
The subpoena prompted a storm of criticism when it became public Tuesday. The pastors are involved in legal efforts to overturn the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, also known as the “bathroom bill.”
The pastors and their allies called the city’s broad demand a threat to religious freedom and proof that gay and transgender rights bills can be used as weapons to demonize Christianity.
“The government has no business asking pastors to turn over their sermons,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican.
Ms. Parker’s office initially doubled down in the face of such criticism but issued a statement late Wednesday saying the mayor “agrees with those who are concerned about the city legal department’s subpoenas for pastors’ sermons.”
There had never been a case of Ebola in the U.S. until a few months ago. Since then, thousands of people have died of the disease in Africa, and millions upon millions of dollars have been spent treating Ebola patients in the U.S. who acquired it there, one of whom has died.
But the Obama administration refuses to impose a travel ban.
This summer, the U.S. government imposed a travel ban on Israel simply to pressure Prime Minister Netanyahu into accepting a ceasefire agreement. But we can’t put a travel restriction on countries where a contagious disease is raging.
It’s becoming increasingly clear this is just another platform for Obama to demonstrate that we are citizens of the world. The entire Ebola issue is being discussed — by our government, not the United Nations — as if Liberians are indistinguishable from Americans, and U.S. taxpayers should be willing to pay whatever it takes to save them.
Maybe we should give them the vote, too! If Ebola was concentrated in Finland and Norway — certainly Israel! — we’d have had a travel ban on Day One.
Naturally, Obama is sending troops from the 101st Airborne, the pride of our Army, to Liberia. Their general should resign in protest.
Quite obviously, the only way to protect Americans is to prevent Ebola from coming here in the first place. The problem isn’t that Ebola will leap across oceans to infect Americans; it’s that Obama doesn’t want to protect Americans.
At least he’s only putting expendable Americans on the frontlines of the Ebola epidemic — doctors, nurses, members of the 101st Airborne.