Four Charts Showing How Obama’s Statist Agenda Is Hurting Jobs and Growth

July 31, 2013

But, if you hit the president with facts, you’re dubbed a racist birther, or something.

International Liberty

President Obama made a much-hyped pivot-to-the-economy speech yesterday in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I already explained, immediately following the speech, why his “grand bargain” on corporate taxes was not a good deal because of all the hidden taxes on new investment and international competitiveness.

But I also had a chance to dissect the President’s overall track record on the economy for today’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Here’s some of what I wrote.

…he didn’t say anything new or different. His audience was treated to the same tax-spend-and-regulate boilerplate that the President has been dispensing ever since he entered political life. …with Obamanomics, not only has America failed to enjoy the traditional period of four-to-five percent growth at the start of a recovery, the economy hasn’t even gotten close to the long-run average of 3 percent. That’s a damning indictment. But it gets worse. The data on employment is…

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#IRS scandal spreads to Federal Elections Commission

July 31, 2013

Corruption is like cancer; it can spread into places you never suspected. In this case, congressional investigators have uncovered correspondence indicating that the IRS’ Lois Lerner had improperly shared confidential tax information about conservative groups with the FEC’s General Counsel’s Office, which, apparently, was improperly investigating those same groups.

Via National Review’s Eliana Johnson:

The correspondence suggests the discrimination of conservative groups extended beyond the IRS and into the FEC, where an attorney from the agency’s enforcement division in at least one case sought and received tax information about the status of a conservative group, the American Future Fund, before recommending that the commission prosecute it for violations of campaign-finance law. Lerner, the former head of the IRS’s exempt-organizations division, worked at the FEC from 1986 to 1995, and was known for aggressive investigation of conservative groups during her tenure there, too.

“Several months ago . . . I spoke with you about the American Future Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization that had submitted an exemption application the IRS [sic],” the FEC attorney wrote Lerner in February 2009. The FEC, which polices violations of campaign-finance laws, is not exempted under Rule 6103, which prohibits the IRS from sharing confidential taxpayer information, but the e-mail indicates Lerner provided that information nonetheless: “When we spoke last July, you had told us that the American Future Fund had not received an exemption letter from the IRS,” the FEC attorney wrote.

The timing of the correspondence between Lerner and the FEC suggests the FEC attorney sought information from the IRS in order to influence an upcoming vote by the six FEC commissioners. The FEC received a complaint in March 2008 from the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party alleging that the American Future Fund had violated campaign-finance law by engaging in political advocacy without registering as a political-action committee. The American Future Fund responded to that complaint in June 2008, telling the commission that it had applied for tax exemption in March of that year and was a “501(c)(4) social-welfare organization that was organized to provide Americans with a conservative and free-market viewpoint and mechanism to communicate and advocate on the issues that most interest and concern them.” According to the e-mail correspondence, a month after receiving the American Future Fund’s response, the FEC general counsel’s office — which is prohibited under law from conducting an investigation into an organization before the FEC’s six commissioners have voted to do so — contacted Lerner to investigate the agency’s tax-exempt status.

The FEC general counsel’s office, in its recommendation on the case, apparently didn’t tell the agency’s commissioners about how it had obtained the information about the group’s tax-exempt status. Recommending that the commissioners prosecute the American Future Fund, the general counsel’s office wrote, “According to its response, AFF submitted an application for tax-exempt status to the Internal Revenue Service . . . on March 18, 2008.” The footnote to that sentence reads, “The IRS has not yet issued a determination letter regarding AFF’s application for exempt status. Based on the information from the response and the IRS website, it is likely that the application is still under review.” In fact, an FEC lawyer knew that the organization had yet to obtain tax-exempt status because Lerner provided the confidential information. 

Emphases added.

Be sure to read the rest. While the commission voted not to investigate AFF and while there’s no evidence yet that the commissioners themselves knew of the illegal investigation, this is further evidence of, at best, an insouciant attitude at the IRS toward the privacy rights of conservatives, if not downright hostility and contempt. And as for the FEC lawyer, well, I’ll be charitable for now and put it down to an arrogant, cavalier attitude I’ve seen all too often after decades of working within bureaucracies. I can just imagine his reasoning: “Well, we all work for the government, and I need the info, and, besides, we’re going to get this information anyway, once the commission opens the investigation, so a little rule-breaking doesn’t matter.”

Happens all the time.

But that doesn’t excuse it. The Ways and Means Committee wants to know who else was snooped on in this manner, and I imagine they’ll have some hard questions both for Lerner (another pleading of the 5th?) and the FEC. Firing is far too hard to do in the federal government these days, so maybe some budget cutting is in order to drive home the lesson that, “no, you really do have to obey the law.”

And wouldn’t that be a nice change?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sun King Obama to peasant reporter: “Do not bother me with lawyers!”

July 30, 2013
"My will is enough!"

“My will is enough!”

We’ve already noted President Le Roi Soleil Obama’s speech at Galesburg, Illinois, last week, in which he (again) revealed himself to be something of a schmuck. But, in addition to the neo-Marxist, class-warfare theme of the speech itself, something else came from that trip. In an interview with audience granted to Jackie Calmes and Michael Shear of The New York Times, Juan Peron Obama had this to say when asked about his unilateral, illegal, and unconstitutional decision to grant a delay in enforcement of the Obamacare employer mandate:

NYT: People questioned your legal and constitutional authority to do that unilaterally — to delay the employer mandate. Did you consult with your lawyer?

MR. OBAMA: Jackie, if you heard me on stage today, what I said was that I will seize any opportunity I can find to work with Congress to strengthen the middle class, improve their prospects, improve their security —

NYT: No, but specifically –

MR. OBAMA: — but where Congress is unwilling to act, I will take whatever administrative steps that I can in order to do right by the American people.

And if Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case. But there’s not an action that I take that you don’t have some folks in Congress who say that I’m usurping my authority. Some of those folks think I usurp my authority by having the gall to win the presidency. And I don’t think that’s a secret. But ultimately, I’m not concerned about their opinions — very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers.

I am concerned about the folks who I spoke to today who are working really hard, are trying to figure out how they can send their kids to college, are trying to make sure that they can save for their retirement. And if I can take steps on their behalf, then I’m going to do so. And I would hope that more and more of Congress will say, you know what, since that’s our primary focus, we’re willing to work with you to advance those ideals. But I’m not just going to sit back if the only message from some of these folks is no on everything, and sit around and twiddle my thumbs for the next 1,200 days.

Keep that in mind: he first dodges the question of whether he consulted with White House legal staff (or the staff of any relevant cabinet department) and then asserts that his critics are mere gadflies because they, unlike he, are not constitutional lawyers.

Translation: “Silence, you ignorant bitter-clinger!”

Let set the record straight: Obama taught con-law (a course on the 4th amendment, as I recall) and was regarded as faculty, but he was no great scholar. Really. Search the literature, and you’ll find next to nothing.  For him to dismiss the many well-read, educated people who have criticized his actions because they don’t have “esq.” after their names is the height of ivory-tower arrogance. And typical for the academic elitists from whose ranks he comes.

But look at that second paragraph: If Congress refuses to do what Obama wants, Obama will do it anyway, regardless of any grant of authority by the legislature, the only body constitutionally allowed to make laws. This isn’t the first time he’s dismissed Congress as a bother. From “I won” to issue after issue, he’s used the vast (too vast) administrative power of the Executive to make or rewrite law, and then stretched the limits of Executive power even further than anyone since FDR or Nixon. Think I’m exaggerating? Consider how many times Obama and his minions have been smacked down nine-to-nothing (9-0!) by the Supreme Court. That includes liberal Justices Ginsberg, Kagan, and Sotomayor, and the latter two were Obama appointees! If even those three think Obama’s White House has lost any constitutional moorings…

What we have here is a man who sees himself as a supercharged Mayor of Chicago, ruling as he wishes and only paying attention to the “city council” when he absolutely has to, not as the head of one branch of government dealing with a constitutionally equal branch, respecting the powers, boundaries, and traditions of both. “Consensus” means to Obama “do it my way.” And, when stymied, he feels no need to consult with anyone else, no need to wait for the people’s elected representatives to grant him authority, nor even any need to obey the law as written. His will be done. Even after five years, his arrogance is breathtaking.

And there’s a word for people who think they can rule on their own.

via Byron York

LINK: More from PJM’s Rick Moran.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Howard Dean: “Palin was right about ‘death panels'”

July 29, 2013

That’s not an exact quote, but a paraphrasing what the former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential flame-out said in a Wall St. Journal article yesterday. Here’s the money quote:

One major problem is the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB is essentially a health-care rationing body. By setting doctor reimbursement rates for Medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered and at what price, the IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them.

There does have to be control of costs in our health-care system. However, rate setting—the essential mechanism of the IPAB—has a 40-year track record of failure. What ends up happening in these schemes (which many states including my home state of Vermont have implemented with virtually no long-term effect on costs) is that patients and physicians get aggravated because bureaucrats in either the private or public sector are making medical decisions without knowing the patients. Most important, once again, these kinds of schemes do not control costs. The medical system simply becomes more bureaucratic.

Emphases added.

When Palin made her first comments about “death panels,” (see also here and here) she was widely derided by the Left and the Establishment Right. And yet now we have a major figure on the left wing of the Democratic Party, a man known to favor some form of nationalized medicine, in effect saying she was right all along, because rationed medical care means having to deny it. In other words, IPAB will choose who gets what treatment, who lives and who dies, taking that decision away from the doctor and his patient.

I’d call that a “death panel.”

Now, Howard still favors way too much government intervention in health care, but I’d call this progress. He’s yet another important voice on the Left saying this is a looming train wreck. With many on the Right calling for defunding Obamacare, we may yet be able to form a coalition to at least suspend the implementation of this anti-constitutional monstrosity.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin was right. Too bad more people in power didn’t listen to her way back then.

"Well, I tried to tell them."

“Well, I tried to tell them.”

via Twitchy

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


NASA predicts 8 degrees of warming in the US by 2100

July 29, 2013

Here’s a good example of a sad, recent phenomenon: “agenda science,” where data is trimmed to fit political needs, observational integrity be damned. Note the use of the years 1970-1999 to calibrate their models, a period of cyclic warming, and the convenient ignoring of cooling (or at least non-warming) periods before and after.

Watts Up With That?

For the National Climate Assessment NASA has produced a model-based prediction of eight degrees Fahrenheit for the continental US by 2100 as the most likely scenario

Story submitted by Ben Bakker

NASA scientists have created a video showing predicted dramatic heating of the continental US between now and the year 2100.  The video and prediction show results of models assuming a rise in CO2 to a low of 550 ppm and a high of 800 ppm by 2100.  The NASA team states that the 800 ppm value is a more likely scenario.  The scenarios based upon their models lead to rises of 4 degrees and 8 degrees Fahrenheit respectively across the contiguous US.  Video follows:

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Robber tries to stick up gun store, learns meaning of “bad idea”

July 28, 2013

You really didn’t think this one through, did you, Derrick?

Sheriff’s deputies say [Derrick] Mosley walked into Discount Gun Sales on Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway around 4 p.m. Thursday with a bat in hand and smashed a display case.

But they say when Mosley tried to steal a gun, the store manager simply pulled out his own personal firearm and pointed it straight at the would-be-robber. The manager then yelled some orders at the guy and got him to drop the baseball bat, the gun he had tried to take and a nine-inch long knife he had on him.

Trying to rob a gun shop with a baseball bat. That kind of genius, friends, is why Derrick Mosely is the major success he is.

I wonder how long it took the cops to stop laughing?

via Jazz Shaw

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Iconic firefighter photo almost excluded from 9/11 memorial exhibit

July 28, 2013
"Patriotism. How gauche."

“Patriotism. How gauche.”

Because, you see, it’s too “rah-rah American”:

According to Elizabeth Greenspan, author of the up coming book Battle for Ground Zero (St. Martin’s Press), Michael Shulan, creative director of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, thought about cutting the famed photo from Ground Zero of three firefighters raising the American flag amidst the rubble of the World Trade Center…because he thought it was too “rah-rah America.” Shulan said, “I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently.”

The “problem” was eventually solved by adding other pictures, “to undercut the myth of ‘one iconic moment…'”, according to the museum’s curator. See, the lone image was just too simplistic, hiding the complexities and meaning of what happened that day.

Just what part of nearly 3,000 Americans being massacred by Muslims waging  jihad is too simple for you, Mikey? What complexity, what nuance, what other perspective is lacking? The jihadists’? Point-of-view shots from the cockpits as the planes were about to slam into the towers? Should you have included a plaque of the text of Bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa declaring war on us? That would introduce some of your beloved meaning, letting the al Qaeda leader explain in his own words why 9/11 was only justice for our crimes, how we’re as much to blame by making them hate us. And who is to judge who is right? Complexity! Perspective! Meaning!

I hope you’ll forgive this simple American for being too “rah-rah,” Michael, but that single image carries more layers of meaning than I suspect you, trapped in a decadent, nihilist multiculturalism, could ever understand.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)