Archive for the ‘Entitlement’ Category
Lois Lerner’s Blackberry was intentionally destroyed after Congress had begun its probe into IRS targeting of conservative groups, a senior IRS lawyer acknowledged in a sworn declaration.
Thomas Kane, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel for the IRS, wrote in the declaration, part of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the IRS, that the Blackberry was “removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.”
That date – June 2012 – is significant because by that time, ex-IRS official Lerner had already been summoned before congressional staffers who interviewed her about reports of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.
“We had already talked to her. Our personal staff and Oversight Committee staff had sat down with Ms. Lerner and confronted her about information we were getting from conservative groups in the state of Ohio and around the country,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Fox News.
“If you intentionally destroy evidence, that is a crime. If you make a statement in court saying the evidence is not available and it is, that is also a crime,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice.
The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.
In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.
To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.
“If you want a deal that includes all the major emitters, including the U.S., you cannot realistically pursue a legally binding treaty at this time,” said Paul Bledsoe, a top climate change official in the Clinton administration who works closely with the Obama White House on international climate change policy.
The Defense Department violated the law when it didn’t tell Congress before transferring five Taliban detainees from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar in return for the Taliban’s release of captured Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Government Accountability Office said in a legal decision made public Thursday.
Pentagon officials “did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer,” as required by law, GAO General Counsel Susan A. Poling said in a letter to nine Republican senators who had sought the analysis.
What’s more, Poling said, “because DOD used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act,” which “prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations exceeding an amount available in an appropriation.”
The GAO ruling provides legal backing for the position that the administration flouted the notification requirement — a view held by most Republicans and more than a few Democrats. The GAO does not address other issues that many lawmakers have raised about the merits of the exchange.
The requirement for a 30-day notice of transfers is part of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization law ( PL 113-66 ). Moreover, the fiscal 2014 Defense appropriations act ( PL 113-76 ) prohibits spending on any transfers that do not comply with the authorization law’s requirements.
Defense Department lawyers told the GAO that they believe the transfers were lawful regardless of the notification requirement, but Poling said the GAO did not accept that argument.
Pentagon officials also told the GAO that the notification requirement is unconstitutional. They argued that it “would have interfered with the Executive’s performance of two related functions that the Constitution assigns to the President: protecting the lives of Americans abroad and protecting U.S. service members.”
The GAO did not assess the validity of that claim.
Carson said, ‘Look at my hometown Detroit and Chicago, New Orleans, Washington D.C. where the murder rates are astronomical. How many black males were killed by police last year? 100. How many black males were killed by other black males? 5,000. 50-1. That’s a huge problem. We can’t afford to be allowing these people just to be slaughtered in the streets and not doing anything about it. This is where we ought to be directing our attention. We can’t afford to just throw those precious people away.”
In reference to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Carson said , “It’s become politically incorrect to actually put your finger on the real problem. And you look in some of these cities like Chicago, Why don’t we talk about their failed gun laws? And why don’t we talk about what is their mayor doing? Why are things getting so bad? Because he’s a friend of the secular progressives. We have to stop picking and choosing who the friends and foes are and start looking objectively at how do we solve these kinds of problems because we can’t afford it.”
In recent months, Barack Obama has crossed an important threshold. He has always shown contempt for his opponents; now he shows contempt for his supporters. He has quit pretending to be a leader, and more or less quit pretending to be a president. On the right and the center, he has become a joke.
But that isn’t the worst of it. No doubt there are a few liberals who still defend Obama, but they are the ones who haven’t been paying attention. Miss Weathervane, Maureen Dowd, exemplifies the larger group of liberals who are heading for the exits:
First the president couldn’t work with Republicans because they were too obdurate. Then he tried to chase down reporters with subpoenas. Now he finds members of his own party an unnecessary distraction.
His circle keeps getting more inner. He golfs with aides and jocks, and he spent his one evening back in Washington from Martha’s Vineyard at a nearly five-hour dinner at the home of a nutritional adviser and former White House assistant chef, Sam Kass.
The president who was elected because he was a hot commodity is now a wet blanket.
The extraordinary candidate turns out to be the most ordinary of men, frittering away precious time on the links. Unlike L.B.J., who devoured problems as though he were being chased by demons, Obama’s main galvanizing impulse was to get himself elected.
The same trend is under way internationally. Thus, from Israel’s liberal Haaretz, formerly a staunch Obama backer: “Will the Middle East ruin Barack Obama’s summer vacation?”
It isn’t very hard to pretend to be president: Obama did it for five years or so. But now, he can’t be bothered. He leaves his allies with no ammunition with which to defend him, thereby showing, one might argue, even more contempt for them than for his enemies. There is an adage, Hell hath no fury like a liberal scorned. If that is true, Obama is in for a long two years.
A federal judge ordered President Obama’s team to hand over some documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious and to provide a list of withheld documents.
Once House Republicans see the list of withheld documents, they will have a chance to challenge the withholding of particular documents.
“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,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) said of the ruling. “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.”
Holder was held in contempt in 2012 after he refused to produce 1,300 pages of documents subpoenaed by Issa’s committee. Obama said that the documents were shielded from congressional review by executive privilege.
“How can the president assert executive privilege if there was no White House involvement?” Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) said at the time. “How can the president exert executive privilege over documents he’s supposedly never seen? Is something very big being hidden to go to this extreme?”
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson “signaled that under the ruling she would devise, DOJ would have to persuade her on each document as to why she should allow Holder to withhold it from Congress” when she heard the case in May, according to Breitbart’s Ken Klukowski.
Tuesday on BBC’s “Newsnight,” political activist Cornel West hammered President Barack Obama on his reaction to the Michael Brown case calling it “disgusting.”
West pointed out the president put out a statement on the death of actor Robin Williams days before he addressed the Brown death.
West railed against the president saying, “His words reek of political calculation rather than moral conviction.”
Slamming Obama’s reaction as not only “weak and timid,” but he added, “I just think it’s disgusting. It’s disgusting to have a black president unable to keep track about what’s going on among the young black youth or any poor youth.”
Hammering the “low quality black leadership in America.” West then went after Al Shrpton as “an apologist for the Obama administration” who sweeps into these crisis for photo-ops not justice.
Speaking to Barack Obama’s tenure in office today, Mitt Romney said “It’s been a good deal worse than even I expected. I was not a big fan of the president’s policies, as you know, either domestically or internationally. But the results of his mistakes and errors, in my opinion, have been more severe than even I would have predicted.”
On the stump with fellow Republicans in West Virginia, Romney cited “unrest in the Ukraine, the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group and stubborn economic woes in the United States” as specific points of criticism.
“I think he underestimated the plans and objectives of [President] Vladimir Putin in Russia. I think he made mistakes in Iraq by not putting in place a status of force agreement. And a number of things where I think he was in the wrong posture,” he said.
Mr. Romney has been aggressively campaigning for Republican candidates in the midterm elections, stirring speculation that he will again run for president in 2016. He insists, however, that he will not run again and that his goal is only to boost the party.
“I’m not running,” he said. “I’m expecting to be getting behind some good people or a good person who will be [the Republican nominee].”
Gov. Perry responded to the out-of-control district attorney’s office with a confident, defiant press conference. Perhaps more surprisingly, this afternoon he turned himself into authorities for fingerprints and a mug shot. No presidential aspirant would willingly hand his opponents that kind of ammo without a plan. And if anyone has turned an indictment into a political positive, Rick Perry has.
Wearing a dark blue suit, white dress shirt and light blue tie, he confidently strode to a podium outside the courthouse to cheering supporters and proclaimed: “I’m here today because I believe in the rule of law. And I’m here today because I did the right thing. I’m going to enter the courthouse with my head held high knowing the actions I took were not only lawful and legal but right.”
“If I had to do so, I would veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit again,” he said.
“This issue is far bigger than me. It’s about the rule of law,” he said, interrupted by cheers. “This indictment is nothing short of an attack of the constitutional powers of the office of governor.”
He then stepped into the courthouse as the crowd shouted “Perry, Perry!” and got his mug shot.
I wish my professional photos looked that good.