Archive for the ‘Cronyism’ Category
Obama Attacks Michigan For Granting Right To Work As Unions Turn Violent, Threaten ‘Civil War,’ ‘Blood’
Brutality & Violence from Union Protestors, AFP Activists Trampled On
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Unions are like the mob. They want you to pay them for “protection,” when in fact they are the true oppressors and extortionists.
Michigan is finally restoring workers’ God-given freedom of association, meaning they can freely choose whether or not to join a union without having to worry about coercion or dues forcibly confiscated from their paychecks.
Unions are furious, of course, and their thugs have been descending on the capitol the same way that they did in Wisconsin.
The Community Organizer-in-Chief was more than happy to fly in on Monday to attack the new state legislation as the “right to work for less.”
Jaw-dropping lie alert: Obama tells workers right-to-work laws “take away your rights to bargain for better wages,” in reality it stops workers from being forced to join a union as a condition of employment. Nothing in those laws relates to collective bargaining. So he’s either grossly misinformed or lying his ass off.
I’m going with the latter. Besides, what business is it of the president’s when the voters of an individual state and their representative choose to pass a law that it is the best interest of their taxpayers and workers? President Obama has no business sticking his nose in state matters – period!
Even still, Democrats aren’t satisfied with a speech. They want the president to abuse federal powers to punish the state for breaking their stranglehold on money and power:
A top Michigan Democrat is looking to President Obama to deliver retribution to Republicans after the GOP-dominated state legislature approved a package of bills that could make this stronghold of union power the nation’s 24th right-to-work state as early as next week.
Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, who on Thursday called the votes to approve the right-to-work measure “petty and vindictive politics,” sparked more backlash Friday when she said she wants the president…to push back on Republican Gov. Rick Snyder by holding back federal money for a new international bridge project to Canada and a badly needed mass-transit program in ailing Detroit.
Jimmy Hoffa would be proud. In fact, his son, Jimmy Jr., is threatening a civil war:
“This is just the first round of a battle that’s going to divide this state. We’re going to have a civil war,” Hoffa said on CNN’s “Newsroom.”
Ever wonder why unions bear an uncanny resemblance to the mob? They’re not willing to let anyone leave “the family” alive.
Just in case you were wondering how serious they are about retaliation for this threat to their power and gravy train, a Democrat state representative actually threatened “there will be blood” on the house floor of the Michigan state house:
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Steven Crowder is a comedian who has conducted dozens of on-camera interviews in venues like this, and he’s NEVER been physically attacked…until now. When union thugs attacked a tent full of conservative Americans For Prosperity activists and Crowder tried to help the the people trapped inside, several union protesters punched him. When he tried to get away, one grabbed him by the back of his shirt to drag him back into the fight:
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Earlier that morning they had shouted down Tea Partiers who were gathered in support of the legislation on the Capitol steps.
This isn’t unlike the vulgar, bullying behavior the left unleashed on the Oregon Tea Party two years ago in Portland. We can expect more of this when Oregon taxpayers begin trying to extricate themselves from the union stranglehold.
“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” – Thomas Jefferson
Right to Work laws protect the right of employees to choose for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union. Longtime readers of my work know that I’ve been exposing the compulsory-union dues racket since my days as a columnist at the Seattle Times. Here’s my 1999 column on how public school teachers in Washington state challenged their union over their political dues power grab. Here are your rights as a union worker. Here is a backgrounder on the permissible use of forced dues. As I wrote on Labor Day in 2010, free speech not only means the freedom to voice your political views, but also the freedom from being forced to pay for someone else’s.
U.S. Supreme Court precedent established by the D.C.-based National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation guarantees the right to full financial disclosure from a union and a right to challenge the figures in court if they disagree.
Today in Michigan, legislators are expected to approve a historic right to work bill.
As Doug Powers noted this morning, the teachers’ unions are up to their usual, power-protecting antics. Despite the re-election of their crony in the White House, state revolts — and courageous individual union members — are successfully pushing back against the forced redistribution of dues money from rank-and-file workers to Big Labor bosses.
Kitzhaber Seeks Special Legislative Session To Accommodate Nike – Other Oregon Businesses, Not So Much
Why should Nike get special treatment? What about the thousands of small businesses and family farms that are struggling to survive under Oregon’s burdensome taxes, regulations and bureaucracy? Don’t THEY deserve a break, too? Or do only Democrat cronies with friends in high places get the relief they need to expand, grow, and create jobs?
Under pressure from Nike, Gov. John Kitzhaber took the extraordinary step Monday of summoning lawmakers for a hurry-up special session to give the giant sportswear company greater tax certainty.
Doing so, Kitzhaber said, would spark a big expansion by Nike in Oregon. It’s unclear where the company plans to grow, but construction alone would tally $440 million, he said.
On Monday, Nike committed to spending at least $150 million and creating at least 500 jobs in Oregon — if the Legislature approves a tax-guarantee bill. Citing an independent economic analysis, Kitzhaber said the eventual spin-off could be 12,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next seven years and a $2 billion-a-year boost to Oregon’s economy.
“This is a huge win for the state of Oregon,” Kitzhaber said at a hastily arranged news conference at the Capitol.
Taxes have become a volatile issue in Oregon in recent years. Public employee unions, education activists and other groups have been pushing for cuts in business tax breaks to bring in more revenue to the state. Voters last month approved a law change that ends corporate “kicker” tax rebates, and the business community is wary about other efforts that might affect their tax bills.
Kitzhaber said Nike officials approached him more that a month ago to discuss the company’s expansion plans. Kitzhaber said they told him that Nike was being “heavily courted” by other states but wanted to stay in Oregon.
Funny how Kitzhaber doesn’t recognized that OTHER businesses are being “heavily courted” as well, simply by the fact that it’s a lot easier and cheaper to start a business in another state than in Oregon.
Unfortunately, instead of recognizing how their anti-business climate is driving business out of the state, Democrats single out Nike as a company they want to keep, and ignore the rest. No wonder our unemployment rate is among the highest in the nation!
I don’t blame Phil Knight for asking the governor to give assurances and incentives–that are still unclear–for large companies in Oregon.
But why are the Democrats falling all over themselves listening to him now?
Did they listen when Knight said of Measures 66 & 67,
“[they] should be labeled Oregon’s Assisted Suicide Law II. They will allow us to watch a state slowly killing itself. They are anti-business, anti-success, anti-inspirational, anti-humanitarian, and most ironically, in the long run, they will deprive the state of tax revenue, not increase it”?
No. Democrats conceived of the huge tax increases on individuals –giving Oregon the highest income tax in the land.Democrats went for the tax on gross receipts-–taking money for the state before a business even made money! Democrats engineered the referral to the people. Democrats’ money bought the ads which pushed the referenda through with both getting more than 53% of the vote.
NOW Democrats are listening to Phil Knight?
Did Democrats listen when business owners begged them not to send the automatic minimum wage initiative to the ballot because it would kill jobs? Did they listen when they were told that all their development fees, environmental overlays, regulations and check jacks would kill jobs?
Now they’re supposedly pro business? Pass the smelling salts, I’m getting a case of the vapors!
The Romney camp needs to shout these points from the rooftops. The average American who is too busy working and raising a family to pay close attention to politics is likely unaware of the depth of Obama’s scandalous cronyism, and they deserve to know!
President Obama’s record of rewarding political donors with taxpayer dollars and plum administration posts is facing a new round of scrutiny thanks to GOP challenger Mitt Romney’s effort to make it a central issue of the campaign.
“[President Obama] thinks it’s his right to give taxpayer money to those who have supported him financially,” former Gov. John Sununu (R., N.H.) said Tuesday on a conference call hosted by the Romney campaign. “It’s insulting to hard-working entrepreneurs who really do create jobs.”
The most publicized instance of so-called “crony capitalism”—investing taxpayer dollars in firms tied to political donors—is the failed solar panel company Solyndra. The Fremont, Calif., firm was the first to receive a taxpayer-backed loan guarantee from the Department of Energy (DOE) in September 2009, worth more than $530 million. The funding for the loan was allocated in the controversial stimulus package passed earlier that year.
Obama bundler George Kaiser was a major stakeholder in Solyndra through his Kaiser Family Foundation, and made several trips to the White House in March 2009 to meet with senior administration officials. In July 2009, Kaiser bragged about securing face time with “all the key players in the West Wing of the White House,” as well as his “almost unique advantage” when it came to steering taxpayer funds toward his pet causes.
“There’s never been more money shoved out of the government’s door in world history, and probably never will be again, than in the last few months and in the next 18 months,” Kaiser told members of the Tulsa Rotary Club. “And our selfish parochial goal is to get as much as it for Tulsa and Oklahoma as we possibly can.”
Although things did not pan out for Solyndra—the company filed for bankruptcy in September 2011—Kaiser can expect to see a better return on his investment than American taxpayers. As part of an agreement to restructure Solyndra’s loan agreement in 2010, Obama’s DOE granted priority status to private investors like Kaiser with respect to the first $75 million recovered in the event of the firm’s bankruptcy, a move that many suspect violated federal law.
Taxpayers, meanwhile, are unlikely to recover much of the money invested on their behalf.
H/T Weasel Zippers
What planet is he living on?
President Barack Obama said today that the private sector is doing fine but that the economy is suffering because of cuts in state and local government.
“The private sector is doing fine,” Obama said at a press conference on Friday. “Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy, have to do with state and local government — oftentimes, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.”
State and local leaders were not the only ones to blame for a bad economy, as the president also blamed Republicans in Congress.
“If Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward, and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is, ‘How do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry?’”
Translation: I need the votes and money of all these public sector workers and their unions, so pay up, America! I’ve got to throw some more “stimulus” money at my peeps!
GDP growth in the first quarter was a measly 1.9%, revised down from an initial 2.2%. The President’s response is to say as his first policy priority that the federal government should borrow or tax more so it can then finance more hiring by state and local governments. Spur the economy by growing the size of government.
It’s true that government spending is part of GDP, and spending more can boost reported GDP for a time. But the lesson of the stimulus—which spent hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to the states—is that this boost is temporary and fades when the spending ends.
Mr. Obama also misdiagnoses state and local government layoffs. They aren’t the result of falling state and local revenues, which have increased by 6% over the last two years, according to the Census Bureau. The problem is that the cost of worker benefits is growing faster than revenues. Governments are having to lay off workers to pay for their rising pension and health bills.
That’s especially true in states that haven’t followed the example of Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and altered their benefits or reformed collective bargaining. Think California and Illinois. Mr. Obama is asking Congress to tax Americans from every state more, and borrow more from China, to send money to states that have been the most spendthrift.
If the President really wants to help state and local governments, he’d campaign with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for pension reform. Or he’d join Mayor Chuck Reed in San Jose to praise that city’s voters for passing a reform referendum this week. Both mayors are Democrats.
The fair if depressing takeaway from Mr. Obama’s press conference is that he continues to believe, despite three and a half years of failure, that more government spending is the key to faster growth and that government really doesn’t need to reform. This is how you get a jobless rate above 8% for 40 months and the weakest economic recovery in 60 years.
The White House made secret backroom deals behind congress’ back? Say it ain’t so!
The House Energy and Commerce Committee issued a press release today, concerning the many back-room deals that helped push ObamaCare upon an unwilling populace:
In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama repeatedly made promises to usher in an era of transparency, “put an end to the game playing,” and broadcast health care negotiations on C-SPAN. However, in 2009, a series of conflicting media accounts documented efforts by the authors of the health care law to make an agreement or series of agreements with health care industry stakeholders to squelch opposition and generate support for the legislation. These meetings and negotiations with various outside interest groups were never made public, and many members of Congress – from both parties – were not a part of those negotiations.
House Energy and Commerce began looking into these little “deals” back in February 2011. Today’s release highlights a secret deal between the White House and PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America.
It was widely known that PhRMA was brought on board to support ObamaCare, but it has always been portrayed as an understanding reached between pharmaceutical industry lobbyists and the Senate Finance Committee. The extent of the White House’s involvement was kept under wraps, but according to the House committee’s new briefing memo, it appears to have included efforts from then-Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel and Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina.
Messina eventually grew angry that PhRMA CEO Billy Tauzin was reneging on their end of the agreement, because he sent an email to the association’s top lobbyist that said, “What the hell? This wasn’t part of our deal.” They must have ironed out their differences, because two months later ObamaCare got through Congress, and the rest is (grim) history.
Precisely what was included in “our deal,” as the Deputy White House Chief of Staff called it? The House Energy and Commerce Committee promises to lay out the details “in the coming weeks,” along with discussing “how the full details of this agreement were kept from both the public and the House of Representatives.”
This obfuscation was quite deliberate, as an email between White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy Ann DeParle and a PhRMA representative makes clear. In the email, DeParle muses, “I think we should have included the House of Representatives, but maybe we never would have gotten anywhere if we had.”
That’s why end-runs around Congress are so important when “We Can’t Wait.” When the righteous want to take us someplace in a hurry, the Constitution becomes an annoying speed bump.
Ladies and gentlemen, the most transparent administration EVAH!
How is our tax code influenced by special interests?
Randall Holcombe, Professor of Economics explains how cronyism in the tax code can benefit special interest groups, and he discusses how we can address this cronyism by reducing the spending power of the government.
“If you really want to understand the nature of our tax code, don’t ask yourself, ‘Why aren’t these provisions in the public interest?’ That’s not how taxes are passed. Ask yourself, ‘Who benefits from these taxes, and how much political power do they have?'” — Professor Randall Holcombe
H/T Mike Kubinec
Krauthammer: Obama’s green algae vision to replace oil
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This would be downright laughable if so many people weren’t suffering as a result of this kind of insanity.
“The American people aren’t stupid,” President Obama said on Thursday — as he insisted that drilling for more oil on U.S. territory is “not a strategy to solve our energy challenge.”
The president’s solution? Algae, for one.
There are no quick fixes to the nation’s eneergy problem, the president said, dismissing Republican calls for more drilling as a “bumper sticker.”
“We’re making new investments in the development of gasoline and diesel and jet fuel that’s actually made from a plant-like substance — algae,” the president said at a campaign stop in Florida. “You’ve got a bunch of algae out here, right? If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we’ll be doing all right.”
IF???? So drilling for oil – a guaranteed, reliable energy source – is just a “bumper sticker” and “not a real solution.”
But throwing millions of dollars into an unproven, potential energy source like algae that would take literally decades to develop, produce on a nationwide scale, and convert cars to run on, is somehow a tangible solution?
Whitney Pitcher at Big Government observes that Obama’s proposal is just another way for him to line the pockets of “green” cronies in an election year:
Algae based biofuels, just like grain and wood based ethanol and solar panels, have proven to be inefficient both in their production and their consumption. A study at the University of Virginia notes that production of algae based fuels requires more water and more petroleum based energy in the process than other biofuels. In his speech, President Obama noted that algae based fuels can be used as jet fuels, but a study at MIT “found that even under optimal conditions — with dozens of refineries up and running — the price of bio jet fuel would still be twice as high as the cost of the traditionally made stuff. “ The fuel has proven to be both energy and financially inefficient.
President Obama’s plan for turning pond scum to energy may be laughable at face value, but the inefficiency of the algae based biofuel coupled with the past and potential future cronyism of the Obama administration is no laughing matter. It has already cost American taxpayers more than half a billion dollars. The only thing truly about the Obama administration is the recycled cronyism.
The Community-Organizer-in-Chief has successfully shaken down the banks for $1 billion dollars that will be distributed to ACORN-like groups, who will “get out the vote” for Obama, including massive voter fraud.
He’s essentially using bank penalties to fund his “unofficial” campaign apparatus.
Five big banks have agreed to give twenty-three Democratic attorneys general more than a billion dollars that can be distributed to housing groups and community organizers in the months prior to the 2012 election.
The money is part of a deal valued at $25 billion that the five banks announced Feb. 9 with President Barack Obama’s deputies and with a coalition of 50 attorneys general. Ninety percent of the value consists of mortgage write-offs, accounting changes and cash transfers that are to be delivered to homeowners over the next three years.
But $1.1 billion in cash will be transferred to the Democratic attorneys general as soon as the deal is approved by a judge, which is expected to happen in March or April.
The bank deal is also slated to deliver almost $1.4 billion to Republican attorneys general, but many of the GOP attorneys general have already announced they will transfer the funds to state legislatures.
The deal is a government shakedown of bank executives and their shareholders, said Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, a law firm that promotes transparency in funding.
By using the courts, the Democrats and their patronage groups have seized money and the ability to favor constituencies that elected legislators in Congress had already denied them, Fitton told The Daily Caller.
“The left is very adept at using the offices of the federal government to keep itself funded, and Republicans are generally oblivious to this,” he said. “Tax dollars shouldn’t be going to interest groups on the left — or the right,” he said.
Few Republicans, he said, “understand that they need to defund the left.”
Some GOP leaders are becoming alarmed about the political payoffs in the growing number of bank lawsuits.
This is what Obama used to do as a “community organizer” with ACORN: help train activists to shake down banks using the “Community Reinvestment Act” and its required quotas of low-income and minority loans as weapons of intimidation and blackmail.
Your hard-earned tax money, forcibly confiscated from your paycheck while you struggle to make ends meet…and this is what they throw it away on.
The White House intends to boost government subsidies for wealthy buyers of the Chevy Volt and other new-technology vehicles — to $10,000 per buyer.
That mammoth subsidy would cost taxpayers $100 million each year if it is approved by Congress, presuming only 10,000 new-technology autos are sold each year.
But the administration wants to get 1 million new-tech autos on the road by 2015. The subsidy cost of that goal could reach $10 billion.
The planned giveaway will likely prompt populist protests from GOP legislators, but it will likely also will be welcomed by auto-industry workers in the critical swing state of Michigan.
That welcome is critical for President Barack Obama, who is touting his support for blue-collar manufacturing programs to help offset his low public approval ratings.
The new subsidy level represents a 33 percent jump from the current $7,500 government payout for each Volt buyer, even though the Volt’s buyers are already among the wealthiest Americans. It will be offered to buyers of any new-technology autos, including battery-powered autos and cars powered by natural gas, said a White House official.
The extra money for wealthy buyers will be borrowed funds, eventually paid off by future taxpayers in all income brackets.
Mike Brownfield observes at the Heritage Foundation that Obama’s crony socialist America is one in which “Rich People Win, Poor Kids Lose“:
While the rich are riding in their taxpayer-subsidized electric cars, the losers in President Obama’s America are at-risk kids languishing in under-performing schools in Washington, D.C. As part of his FY 2013 budget, President Obama eliminates funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which throws a school choice lifeline to children who would otherwise be left hopeless in Washington’s public school system.
Thanks to the program, more than 1,600 low-income children in the nation’s Capital are using vouchers this school year to attend a school that they choose. The program has been a stunning success. Heritage’s Lindsey Burke writes:
According to federally-mandated evaluations of the program, student achievement has increased, and graduation rates of voucher students have increased significantly. While graduation rates in D.C. Public Schools hover around 55 percent, students who used a voucher to attend private school had a 91 percent graduation rate.
How much does this kind of success cost? A mere $8,000 per student, compared to the estimated $18,000 spent per child by D.C. Public Schools.
To be clear: $10,000 in taxpayer funds to subsidize the purchase of an electric car versus $8,000 to give a child a choice in education. We know what the President chose. Which would you pick?
Exposed: Media Matters Collaborated With Obama White House and News Organizations, Made Enemies List Of ‘Preliminary Targets’
Conservatives have known this for years, but Media Matters is NOT a non-partisan “fact checker.” It is a Soros-funded attack dog dedicated to discrediting conservative individuals, groups and media outlets that dare to speak out against the Left’s agenda.
An internal Media Matters For America memo obtained by The Daily Caller reveals that the left-wing media watchdog group employs an “opposition research team” to target its political enemies. Included in the list of targets are right-leaning websites, conservative think tanks, prominent financiers and donors, and more than a dozen specific Fox News Channel and News Corporation employees.
“We will conduct extensive public records searches and compile opposition books on individuals,” declares the memo, likely written in late 2009. Investigations, it says, “will focus on the backgrounds, connections, operations and political and financial activities of the individuals.”
Fox News reports that its employees were being specifically targeted by Media Matters:
Liberal media watchdog group Media Matters once contemplated harassing Fox News employees with yard signs in their neighborhoods, hiring private investigators to dig into their personal lives and retaining a “major law firm” to study legal action against the network, according to a report Tuesday in the Daily Caller.
The Daily Caller’s damning investigation reveals “erratic behavior, close coordination with White House and news organizations“:
…Media Matters has to a great extent achieved its central goal of influencing the national media.
Founded by Brock in 2004 as a liberal counterweight to “conservative misinformation” in the press, Media Matters has in less than a decade become a powerful player in Democratic politics. The group operates in regular coordination with the highest levels of the Obama White House, as well as with members of Congress and progressive groups around the country. Brock, who collected over $250,000 in salary from Media Matters in 2010, has himself become a major fundraiser on the left. According to an internal memo obtained by TheDC, Media Matters intends to spend nearly $20 million in 2012 to influence news coverage.
Donors have every reason to expect success, as the group’s effect on many news organizations has already been profound. “We were pretty much writing their prime time,” a former Media Matters employee said of the cable channel MSNBC. “But then virtually all the mainstream media was using our stuff.”
Media Matters has perhaps achieved more influence simply by putting its talking points into the willing hands of liberal journalists. “In ‘08 it became pretty apparent MSNBC was going left,” says one source. “They were using our research to write their stories. They were eager to use our stuff.” Media Matters staff had the direct line of MSNBC president Phil Griffin, and used it. Griffin took their calls.
Stories about Fox News were especially well received by MSNBC anchors and executives: “If we published something about Fox in the morning, they’d have it on the air that night verbatim.” […]
“The entire progressive blogosphere picked up our stuff,” says a Media Matters source, “from Daily Kos to Salon. Greg Sargent [of the Washington Post] will write anything you give him. He was the go-to guy to leak stuff.” […]
“The HuffPo guys were good, Sam Stein and Nico [Pitney],” remembered one former staffer. “The people at Huffington Post were always eager to cooperate, which is no surprise given David’s long history with Arianna [Huffington].”
“Jim Rainey at the LA Times took a lot of our stuff,” the staffer continued. “So did Joe Garofoli at the San Francisco Chronicle. We’ve pushed stories to Eugene Robinson and E.J. Dionne [at the Washington Post]. Brian Stelter at the New York Times was helpful.”
“Ben Smith [formerly of Politico, now at BuzzFeed.com] will take stories and write what you want him to write,” explained the former employee, whose account was confirmed by other sources. Staffers at Media Matters “knew they could dump stuff to Ben Smith, they knew they could dump it at Plum Line [Greg Sargent’s Washington Post blog], so that’s where they sent it.”
Reporters who weren’t cooperative might feel the sting of a Media Matters campaign against them. “If you hit a reporter, say a beat reporter at a regional newspaper,” a Media Matters source said, “all of a sudden they’d get a thousand hostile emails. Sometimes they’d melt down. It had a real effect on reporters who weren’t used to that kind of scrutiny.”
Most damning are the revelations about Obama’s partnership with Media Matters, which gave him unprecedented influence over the content of news reports regarding his administration, the Democrat party and the “progressive” agenda:
Media Matters also began a weekly strategy call with the White House, which continues, joined by the liberal Center for American Progress think tank. Jen Psaki, Obama’s deputy communications director, was a frequent participant before she left for the private sector in October 2011.
Every Tuesday evening, meanwhile, a representative from Media Matters attends the Common Purpose Project meeting at the Capitol Hilton on 16th Street in Washington, where dozens of progressive organizations formulate strategy, often with a representative from the Obama White House.
Still, this dangerous level of controlled media messaging wasn’t enough for Obama. In 2009 he attempted to block Fox News from the press pool because of their unfavorable reporting. He has routinely intimidated and bullied reporters, often restricting their access to the White House if they dared to step out of line. He had the Department of Homeland Security monitor journalists online. He’s collaborated directly with journalists, hosting them at White House gatherings where they were given talking points to coordinate the message for the 2012 election. Even veteran liberal reporter Helen Thomas complained that ‘not even Nixon’ tried to control the media like Obama does.
This latest exposé of Obama’s collaboration with the Lefitst propaganda machine is sure to bring up plenty of questions about how little he was vetted prior to 2008, and how much he is still hiding now.
If you’re looking for an alternative media watchdog, TruthOrFiction.com is a TRUE non-partisan urban legend fact checker. Newsbusters is also a great independent media watchdog resource which is unapologetically conservative and honest, and doesn’t collaborate with any political party.
With 2011 drawing to a close, it is time to account. As an early-and-often chronicler of Chicago-on-the-Potomac, I am amazed at the stubborn and clingy persistence of President Barack Obama’s snowblowers in the media. See no scandal, hear no scandal, speak no scandal.
Dartmouth College professor Brendan Nyhan asserted in May — while Operation Fast and Furious subpoenas were flying on Capitol Hill — that “one of the least remarked upon aspects of the Obama presidency has been the lack of scandals.” Conveniently, he defines scandal as a “widespread elite perception of wrongdoing.”
So as long as left-wing Ivy League scribes refuse to perceive something to be a scandal — never mind the actual suffering endured by the family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, whose death came at the hands of a Mexican cartel thug wielding a Fast and Furious gun walkedacross the southern border under Attorney General Eric Holder’s watch — there is no scandal!
Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum likewise proclaimed: “Obama’s presidency has so far been almost completely free of scandal.”
This after the year kicked off in January with the departure of lying eco-radical czar Carol Browner. In backroom negotiations, she infamously bullied auto execs to “put nothing in writing, ever.” The previous fall, the White House’s own oil spill panel had singled out Browner for misleading the public about the scientific evidence for the administration’s Draconian drilling moratorium and “contributing to the perception that the government’s findings were more exact than they actually were.”
The Interior Department inspector general and federal judges likewise blasted drilling ban book-cooking by Browner and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who falsely rewrote the White House drilling ban report todoctor the Obama-appointed panel’s own overwhelming scientific objections to the job-killing edict.
In February, federal judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana excoriated the Obama Interior Department for defying his May 2010 order to lift its fraudulent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. He called out the administration’s culture of contempt and “determined disregard” for the law.
This spring saw rising public anger over the preferential Obamacare waiver process (which I first reported on in September 2010). Some 2,000 lucky golden ticket winners were freed from the costly federal mandates — including a handful of fancy restaurants in Aloha Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district, the entire state of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Nevada, and scores of local, state and national Big Labor organizations, from the Service Employees International Union and Teamsters on down. Meanwhile, as The Hill newspaper reported last month, other not-so-lucky Republican-led states seeking waivers, such as Indiana and Louisiana, were rejected.
But it wasn’t just Republicans objecting to the president’s arbitrary Obamacare fiats. In July, congressional Democrats turned on the monstrous federal health bureaucracy known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The constitutionally suspect panel — freed from normal public notice, public comment and public review rules — would have unprecedented authority over health care spending and an expanding jurisdiction of private health care payment rates.
Obama’s health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, faced separate legal questions over her overseer role in a hair-raising document-shredding case when she served as governor of Kansas. In October, a district judge in the Sunflower State suspended court proceedings in a high-profile criminal case against the abortion racketeers of Planned Parenthood. Bombshell court filings showed that Kansas health officials “shredded documents related to felony charges the abortion giant faces” and failed to disclose it for six years.
That same month, Bloomberg News columnist Jonathan Alter gushed:“There is zero evidence … of corruption. Where is it?”
Alter’s declaration of the “Obama Miracle” came just weeks after the politically driven half-billion-dollar Solyndra stimulus “investment” went bankrupt, prompting an FBI raid and ongoing criminal and congressional probes of the solar company funded by top White House bundler and visitor George Kaiser.
As Solyndra and an avalanche of other ongoing green subsidy scams erupted, so did the LightSquared debacle — a federal broadband boondoggle involving billionaire hedge fund managers and Obama donors Philip Falcone and George Soros. In September, two high-ranking witnesses — William Shelton, the four-star general who heads the Air Force Space Command, and National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Director Anthony Russo — exposed how the White House had pressured them to alter their congressional testimony and play down concerns about LightSquared’s interference threat to military communications.
The White House continues to block efforts to gain information about the Federal Communications Commission’s approval of a special waiver for the company, even as new government tests this month showed that the company’s “signals caused harmful interference to the majority of … general purpose GPS receivers.”
The Obama White House closed out the year with Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri demanding a probe of the smelly $443 million no-bid smallpox antiviral pill contract with Siga Technologies — controlled by big lefty donor Ron Perelman. Then there was the small matter of massive voter fraud in Indiana, where a Democratic official resigned amid allegations that “dozens, if not hundreds,” of signatures were faked to get Obama on the state primary ballot in 2008. And while Americans busied themselves with the holidays, White House and Democratic campaign officials were dumping more than $70,000 in contributions from another deep-pocketed contributor — scandal-plagued pal and former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, who oversaw thecollapse of MF Global.
All this — and so much more — yet erstwhile “conservative” journalist Andrew Sullivan of Newsweek/The Daily Beast scoffed, “Where are all the scandals promised by Michelle Malkin?”
There’s none so blind as those who will not see.
That’s the Chicago way!
As the White House rejects charges that the Obama administration was motivated by politics in its decisions on green energy loans, scrutiny is increasing over the preference given to Democratic donors seeking federal loans.
Recent emails suggest that politics did play a role in administration decisions regarding its energy loan guarantee programs. But beyond the timing of political announcements, the Solyndra investigation has churned up questions about the White House’s overall strategy of doling out taxpayer money.
The rolls of green energy subsidies show that beyond a few headline-grabbing cases, several well-connected Democrats obtained taxpayer assistance for environmentally friendly projects.
Among the recipients are:
— Solyndra, which received $535 million in loan guarantees and whose chief investor was the George Kaiser Family Foundation. George Kaiser was an Obama campaign bundler.
— Brightsource Energy, which received $1.6 billion and whose senior adviser is Robert Kennedy, Jr., an early Obama backer;
— Solar Reserve, which got a $737 million loan, and whose major investor is a company run by Michael Froman, who was a deputy assistant to the president. Froman bundled up to $500,000 for the president’s 2008 campaign;
— Granite Reliable Wind Generation, which received a $168.9 million loan. The company’s majority owner is a firm formerly led by Nancy Ann DeParle, now a White House deputy chief of staff and former head of the president’s health care communications team during the reform debate; and
— Abound Solar, which received a loan guarantee worth $400 million. A key investor is billionaire heiress Pat Stryker, who gave $87,000 to Obama’s inauguration committee, and hundreds of thousands more to Democratic causes.
Peter Schweizer, author of the book, “Throw Them All Out,” wrote that at least 10 members of Obama’s finance committee and more than a dozen of his campaign bundlers took money from administration loan programs.
Schweizer told Fox News that he believes that many of those who were chosen to receive loan guarantees, were picked almost solely for their success in raising money for the Obama campaign.
Obama used the alternative energy program as an opportunity to make his campaign contributors “even more wealthy than they are,” he said.
“This is a payoff to people who are your political backers and supporters. And this is really a wealth transfer from middle class taxpayers to billionaires,” Schweizer said, adding that about 75 percent of the loans and grants doled out by the federal government has gone to “Obama-connected companies” even though the acceptance rate in the program is less than 10 percent.
“This is a problem of when the government becomes involved in economic decisions that are best left for the private sector. It reduces the incentive to lower costs and innovate,” he said.
He added that the Energy Department had an enormous amount of power because it received so much of the 2009 stimulus money.
“The real question needs to be the merit of the loan guarantee program, why is the government picking winners and losers in the market place when there is a huge demand for electricity, there’s huge demand for transportation fuels. That profit incentive (alone is enough) to drive new technologies into the market place … and I think really the question needs to be why do we have this program in the first place,” Loris said.
This is damning enough to probably send half of congress to jail.
Congress’s approval ratings are at all time lows. So are President Obama’s. Mainstream media organizations are losing more of the public’s trust by all measures. The Republican presidential field is not capturing anyone’s imagination. Those associated with the Tea Party movement and Occupy Wall Street protests (at least those who are not murderers, rapists, and spreaders of contagions) have expressed their frustrations at a system in which the playing field is by no means level.
Last night on CBS’s 60 Minutes, the revelations of Schweizer’s book were detailed. Nancy Pelosi’s purchase of VISA stock while she was overseeing legislation that would directly impact the stock’s value was chronicled. Former Speaker Dennis Hastert’s land dealings were discussed. Alabama Congressman Spencer Bachus’s stock trades, with access to information that the public did not have during the TARP debate, were mentioned–as conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart has called for Bachus to resign from Congress. Senator Judd Gregg was not spared. Neither were John Boehner and John Kerry’s trades in healthcare stocks.
As Schweizer writes in Throw Them ALL Out:
Politicians have made politics a business. They are increasingly entrepreneurs who use their power, access, and privileged information to generate wealth. And at the same time well-connected financiers and corporate leaders have made a business of politics. They meet together in the nation’s capital to form a political caste.
In short, the Permanent Political Class has clearly figured out how to extract wealth from the rest of us based solely on their position and proximity to power. If you have a seat at the table, you are in for a feast. If you don’t have a seat at the table, you are probably on the menu. Exactly how crony capitalists are consuming public wealth and fattening themselves is the subject of this book.
In his book, there are even more revelations about Pelosi. Consider this:
For years, Nancy Pelosi has pushed for earmarks to construct and ultimately extend San Francisco’s so-called Third Street Light Rail Project. In 2004, she boasted to her constituents that she had secured more than $120 million in federal money for the project. Third Street is one of the most expensive light rail projects ever, costing $660 million for just a six-mile route.
According to Schweizer, those earmarks had the effect of directly benefiting the commercial property holdings the Pelosis had near those lands where federal money was doled out for these projects.
Schweizer also details how Pelosi, perhaps like Pete Rose betting on his team to win, often supported policies and green energy programs in the name of promoting liberal leaning policy objectives that would also conveniently benefit her stock holdings.
What’s even more frustrating to Schweizer is that none of these activities, many of which would be illicit in other industries, are perfectly legal. As Schweizer writes, that is a main reason why politicians who come to Washington without too much money end up becoming millionaires many times over by peddling access and information. Schweizer writes:
Access to government information is critical. And being on good terms with the gatekeepers of that information — elected officials, political appointees, and bureaucrats — can make all the difference between getting rich and getting hammered in the market.
Obama is not spared in the book either. Much of Obama’s venture socialism has been on display recently with revelations coming out every day about Obama’s “green loans” to companies like Solyndra and SunPower. In Throw Them ALL Out, Schweizer contends that Obama has always been associated with crony capitalism since he was a state senator in Illinois.
Schweizer notes that Obama wrote in The Audacity of Hope, of how his credit card was denied by a rental car company. Shortly after, a wealthy political donor named Robert Blackwell paid him a $112,000 legal retainer over 14 months.
Schweizer points out, though, that, “here’s what Obama failed to note in his book, and what came to light only later, thanks to investigative reporting: State Senator Obama subsequently helped Blackwell’s table tennis company receive $320,000 in Illinois tourism grants to subsidize a state Ping-Pong tournament.”
After Obama came into office, many of his political allies benefited from their connections to him in the form of government loans and favors. Some allies Schweizer names include: Steve Spinner, Jonathan Silver, Sanjay Wagle of the Clean Tech and Green Business Leaders for Obama.
Further, Steve Farber raised nearly $40 million for Obama’s inauguration and then boldly placed an add in the Wall Street Journal touting his firm’s connections to Obama:
“Expertise in sustainable energy law is worth nothing without connections,” the advertisement read. “Learn how we’ve helped clients obtain funding from the Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”
Consider another case documented in the book: Granite Reliable Wind was offered $135 in federal loan guarantees.
Schweizer notes that this is significant because Granite Reliable Wind is owned and managed by CCMP Capital, “which is where the White House Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy-Ann DeParle had been managing director before joining the Obama administration.”
And then there is Warren Buffet.
Consider these passages:
In the fall of 2010, Buffet wrote “Thank You, Uncle Sam,” an op-ed in the New York Times in which he praised the role that government played in stabilizing the markets throughout the crisis. …
With tongue sarcastically in cheek, journalist Ira Stoll, the former managing editor of the New York Sun, suggested the bio might have been more accurate with a bit of rewriting: “Warren Buffett, the largest crony capitalist in the world, shareholder of GE, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, M&T Bank, and American Express, as well as competitor of private equity and hedge funds that have been threatened with new taxes and regulations, and behind the scenes insider adviser to most of the government officials mentioned above.”…
Again, to be clear, even though Buffet was the one who proposed the public-private partnership, there is absolutely nothing illegal about lobbying for a policy while investing in the potential winners if that policy is adopted. But consider this: had Buffet been pushing a private investment house to make an acquisition that would benefit certain stocks while quietly buying shares in those same stocks, he would possibly have been investigated for insider trading.
Because most of the accounts in Schweizer’s book, though outrageous and a clear conflict of interest, are legal, Schweizer proposes some legal reforms.
In a chapter titled “Breaking the Back of Crony Capitalism,” Schweizer lays out some much needed reforms that he hopes are undertaken. Here are some of his proposals:
• Create a legal code that makes trading on nonpublic government information illegal both for those who pass the information and for those who trade on it.
• Corporate insiders trading their own company’s stock are required to disclose these transactions to the SEC within two days. Why not apply the same standard to Congress?
• Members of Congress should not be allowed to trade stock in companies that are overseen by their committees.
• Apply whistleblower laws to Congress. If it’s good enough for federal workers and corporate employees, it should be good enough for Congress.
• Disallow “sweetheart” IPOs. Unless the initial public offering goes through a public auction, in which people can openly compete for shares in a bidding contest, members of Congress should not be allowed to participate.
• Family members of legislators should not be allowed to become lobbyists.
• The federal government needs to get out of the business of offering grants and taxpayer-backed loans.
Americans who have suspected that Washington does not have their interests at heart and wonder on their trips to the nation’s capital how it is such a gilded boomtown will get answers in this book.
The country is at the beginning stages of a citizen revolt against the permanent political class whose interests are tied to the crony capitalistic system that benefits their own self-interest.
Look for this book — and Schweizer — to be on the frontlines in combating and fighting this breach of trust by the country’s elected officials. With a documentary based on Throw Them ALL Out rumored to be in the works with conservative filmmaker Steve Bannon, Schweizer and his ideas for combating Washington’s culture of crony capitalism and the permanent political class are not going away.
And if frustrations against the establishment on both sides of the aisle and Washington the last four years are any indication, the marketplace for Schweizer’s ideas and similar works will only grow.
Another day, another Obama scandal. This one involves an Obama donor getting a no-bid contract to produce Smallpox vaccines.
Is it any wonder that the Occupy Wall Street protests are making noise and stealing headlines at a time when more and more Obama scandals are surfacing?
If you thought Solyndra was bigtime corruption, wait until you read the details of the Siga scandal. David Willman of the Los Angeles Times reveals a huge no-bid contract bearing all the signs of intervention from above, that could dwarf Solyndra. It involves the health and safety of the American poeple, and a squandering of taxpayer resources.
The Department of Health and Human Services has signed a no-bid contracted with Siga Technologies for as much as much as 2.8 billion dollars’ worth of a high priced drug, for a terrorism threat that may not exist. The drug’s effectiveness is unknown because it cannot be tested on humans. The threat it is intended to counter is an attack based on Smallpox (which has been eradicated and only “is known to exist only in the locked freezers of a Russian scientific institute and the U.S. government.”)
A large stockpile of effective and inexpensive smallpox vaccine already exists. The new drug is intended to be used after exposure to smallpox in the event of a bioterrorism attack.
Dr. Thomas M. Mack, an epidemiologist at USC‘s Keck School of Medicine, battled smallpox outbreaks in Pakistan and has advised the Food and Drug Administration on the virus. He called the plan to stockpile Siga’s drug “a waste of time and a waste of money.”
Even if the threat were real, and the drug actually effective, the expensive (estimated $255 per dose, a price that bears no relationship at all to production cost) stockpile only has a shelf life of 38 months. If Obama is re-elected, the gravy train rolls along for another profitable round for Siga.
By coincidence, Siga is controlled by Billionaire Democrat mega-donor Ronald Perelman, who used his McAndrew & Forbes holding company to buy into the business of selling antiviral anti-bioterrorism drugs to the government.
The long and detailed saga told by Willman reveals a path strewn with political interference from above, to benefit Siga. This long piece deserves a careful read, and a call for Congressional hearings.
Add this to Fast & Furious and Solyndra, and the Obama has a hat trick of major scandals. I do believe it is time to call it the “scandal-plagued Obama administration.”
The Philosophy of Liberty: Plunder
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”Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” ~ Frederic Bastiat
Unless you identify your economic enemy correctly, you cannot succeed in defeating him. The typical Occupy Wall Street sap, the radical left’s modern incarnation of the useful idiot, thinks his enemy is an evil Wall Street billionaire.
But Wall Street banking firms did not survive the financial collapse of 2008 — virtually unscathed — by bailing themselves out. With only one major exception (Lehman Brothers), incompetently managed banks were not forced into bankruptcyby the government. Bondholders and shareholders were not told to pick up their crumbs, suffer debilitating losses, and learn their lesson for the next time.
No, the government, the same irresistible and evil force that OWS now wants to manage our entire economy, decided instead to bail out the banks. Taxes paid by the occupiers, or more likely their parents, were looted to accomplish this. The government chose to double down on moral hazard. Goldman Sachs, GE, AIG, and their ilk were unjustly saved and rewarded by the government for their mismanagement, with democrats leading the charge. Democrats voted overwhelming for TARP, while the republicans largely demurred.
The Democrats in government played first economic responder because their power is sustained by the largely Democrat donor base that comprises Wall Street and hedge fund royalty. Virtually everyone on Wall Street comes from same the leftist universe as the occupiers. John Mack, Chairman of Morgan Stanley was a Hillary supporter and fundraiser. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, was an Obama supporter and fundraiser. Wall Street is a leftist Democrat playground , as surely as is San Francisco.
Comrade Obama raised more money from the financial industry than any other candidate in American political history. Indeed, Obama amassed a treasure trove so vast from these and other mega-wealthy donors (like labor unions) that he decided to forego public financing of his campaign, a first for presidential nominees since the system began.
The existence of crony capitalism, as evidenced by these cozy banking/government partnerships, is the name of the real enemy OWS should be fighting. Crony capitalism is the most putrid kind of partnership between industry and government and it was most famously and successfully championed by the regimes of fascist Italy and Nazi Germany long ago. Crony capitalists support government expecting economic protection and favors. After doling out its protection and favors, the government expects to win financial support from the cronies now comfortably and securely protected from market forces and competition.
The cronies are extremely clever in gaming this corrupt and immoral system. But cronies like GE, and GM merely exploit the system. They did not create it. Only the government through law and force could do that.
For example, it was Democrats in government that created, nurtured and protected Fannie Mae Freddie Mac as they underwrote subprime mortgages that would never have been issued in a free market by uncoerced lenders. As noted by Peter Wallison, at the height of the subprime fiasco, “half of all mortgages in the US were subprime…. and 70% of those were held or guaranteed by government agencies.” Those mortgages obligations once subsumed by government guarantees could be repackaged by crony bankers to investors the world over at great profit, and seemingly little downside risk.
The CEO’s who managed these corrupt and compromised government organizations, were almost always left wing Democrat insiders like Jamie Gorelick (Hillary supporter) and Harold Raines (Obama supporter). When they retired from their executive duties at Freddie they received tens of millions in payouts, and they left behind heavily indebted carcasses that continue to rot uncontrollably even today, three years after the mortgage-induced financial crisis of 2008.
It is this hopelessly corrupt form of corporate cronyism, abetted by government that OWS should be clamoring to dismantle, not capitalism. And their rightful targets are mostly democrats reigning in the Capitol Building and in the White House, not the Wall Street bankers residing in upper eastside Manhattan townhouses.
Once they succeed is relegating crony capitalism to the dustbin of history, accomplished only after severely diminishing both the size of government and its legitimate scope of action, can a disinfected occupier be free at last to pursue his creative aspirations. Their only limitations should be their ambition and intelligence, not the government connection of their would-be employers.
Undoubtedly, it would help the OWS cause immensely, if their members showered, deloused, and seriously began to hunt for a job, which will be much easier to accomplish if they acquire some kind of marketable skill. Drum beating and bizarre chanting just won’t do.