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The stuff you won't see in the liberal media (click "Replies" for top stories)
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Beckwith

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Sessions ends revenue stream for Obama's lefties

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Greg Corombos (WND) is reporting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is pulling the plug on a Justice Department policy instituted during the Obama years that effectively forced corporations to settle lawsuits by, in part, funding Obama's favorite leftist political organizations, a practice many critics considered a liberal slush fund.

"When the federal government settles a case against a corporate wrongdoer, any settlement funds should go first to the victims and then to the American people -- not to bankroll third-party special interest groups or the political friends of whoever is in power," said Sessions in a statement.

Former Justice Department official Hans von Spakovsky is now with the Heritage Foundation. He is also co-author of "Obama's Enforcer: Eric Holder's Justice Department." He calls the former policy nothing more than the government stealing from the American people.

"It's pretty clear the Obama administration figured out a way to rob the public and help their political allies," said von Spakovsky, who adds that we're talking about a lot of money going to Obama's political friends.

"We're not talking about chump change here. My understanding is in the last 30 months before the new administration came in, the Justice Department had funneled about a billion dollars to outside third party groups," said von Spakovsky.

And who exactly received the money?

"Environmental groups, civil-rights groups, ACORN-type groups, that's who was getting this money," said von Spakovsky.

He then explained how the process worked.

"When the Justice Department sued defendants such as Volkswagen or the Bank of America claiming they had violated federal law, they entered into settlement agreements with those defendants, in which the defendants agreed to pay a large sum of money to end the litigation," said von Spakovsky.

"The Obama Justice Department would come in and say, 'We want you to give a portion of this money to such-and-such organization.' These were not organizations that had anything to do with the lawsuit. They weren't parties to the lawsuit. They didn't have members who were injured by whatever the misbehavior was of the company," said von Spakovsky.

"These are simply third-party, mostly advocacy organizations who were big political allies of the administration. That, frankly, is really stealing money that is due to the American taxpayer and funneling it to political friends of the government," added von Spakovsky.

He says this wasn't just unethical but illegal.

"I actually think it was illegal. There is a federal law called the Miscellaneous Receipts Act, which requires DOJ lawyers to deposit settlement checks into the U.S. Treasury Department. That was not happening, so I think it was illegal. Thanks goodness Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said this is not going to happen anymore," said von Spakovsky.

However, Sessions appears content to end the program. Von Spakovsky suspects there will be no legal danger for anyone who created or operated this program.

"It sounds like he's just going to end the practice and move on. There doesn't appear to be an effort by the Justice Department to apply this [retroactively], in other words to go backwards and go to some of these settlements of lawsuits, open them, and try to get the money back. I don't think they're going to do that," said von Spakovsky.


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Beckwith

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The Obama Foundation launches with lobbyists and Wall Street at the wheel

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Michael Sainato (Observer) is reporting that, so far, it seems to be following the in the footsteps of its flawed predecessor, the Clinton Foundation.

As soon as Barack Obama left the White House, he immediately began marketing "The Obama Foundation," which appears to use the same oligarchic formula that Bill and Hillary Clinton implemented in the Clinton Foundation in order to peddle their own influence and grow their personal wealth under the pretense of philanthropy. The Obama Foundation's Board of Directors closely resembles the make-up of the Clinton Foundation's board in that it relies on corporate lobbyists and financial industry insiders over philanthropy experts.

Donald Trump's ascendence to the presidency was enabled by the mistrust that the Obama administration placed in American voters by allowing donors and corporate lobbyists to exponentially increase their power in government. Rather than oppose this takeover, Obama welcomed it from the outset of his presidency. The structure of his Foundation is set up in a way to perpetuate this neo-liberal partnership with the top one percent rather than run on the ethos of the Democratic Party at its strongest point, when it collectively opposed financial power instead of allying with it.

Former UBS President and prolific donor to Obama's presidential campaigns, Robert Wolf, is a board member of the Obama Foundation. While Wolf was running UBS and Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State, Hillary helped UBS settle a lawsuit with the IRS after the bank paid Bill Clinton $1.5 million in speaking fees. UBS then increased their donations to the Clinton Foundation to $600,000.Continue Reading this Article

In 2012, UBS whistleblower Brad Birkenfeld was released from prison after approaching the Department of Justice with information that UBS was helping wealthy Americans evade taxes with secret Swiss accounts. Birkenfeld received the largest payout in whistleblower history: $104 million. In 2007, when Birkenfeld testified to the U.S. Senate Committee in regards to what UBS was doing, Obama failed to show up to any of the hearings. UBS donated over $500,000 to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, and Robert Wolf was appointed to Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Wolf now runs a commercial drone business, is a contributor to Fox News, and donated at least $100,000 to the Obama Foundation before becoming a Board Member.

Obama's best friend and private equity executive Martin Nesbitt is serving as Chair of the Obama Foundation. Nesbitt founded the Vistria Group, which came under scrutiny in 2016 for purchasing the for-profit online university, University of Phoenix.

Venture capitalist and billionaire John Doerr was appointed to the Obama Foundation Board of Directors in 2014. In 2015, Doerr was sued for gender discrimination when tapes were released of him saying sexist comments. In his industry, technology, women earn 29% less than men of the same age and are severely underrepresented at every level. Doerr donated between $500,000 to $1,000,000 to the Obama Foundation.

Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was also announced as a Board Member of the Obama Foundation. After leaving office in 2015, Patrick joined Bain Capital, Mitt Romney's venture capital group, which was a frequent target for being an outsourcing pioneer in Obama's 2012 presidential campaign.

The Obama Foundation's website says that Obama is "helping responsible homeowners stay in their homes." This rhetoric implies that the blame of foreclosures, which was a catalyst to the 2008 economic recession, falls on homeowners and not the banks who exploited them using predatory practices for their own profit. In truth, blaming and attacking the poor, working, and middle class under the pretenses of personal responsibility has become a hallmark of neo-liberalism, thereby broadening the disconnect Democrats have with their voters.

Just as how Democratic partisans blindly defended the Clinton Foundation, they will likely do the same with the Obama Foundation, no matter whether the Obamas use it to increase their wealth or elevate Michelle Obama's political prospects. Honestly confronting the elitism that has co-opted the Democratic Party under Obama's Administration and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is essential to preventing similarly flawed candidates from ascending the party's ranks.


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Beckwith

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Exposed: FBI Director James Comey's Clinton Foundation connection

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Ray Starmann (USDefensewatch) is reporting that a review of FBI Director James Comey's professional history and relationships shows that  Barack Obama's head fed-- now under fire for his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton -- is deeply entrenched in the big-money cronyism culture of Washington, D.C. His personal and professional relationships -- all undisclosed as he announced the Bureau would not prosecute Clinton -- reinforce bipartisan concerns that he may have politicized the criminal probe.

These concerns focus on millions of dollars that Comey accepted from a Clinton Foundation defense contractor, Comey's former membership on a Clinton Foundation corporate partner's board, and his surprising financial relationship with his brother Peter Comey, who works at the law firm that does the Clinton Foundation's taxes.

Lockheed Martin

When Obama nominated Comey to become FBI director in 2013, Comey promised the United States Senate that he would recuse himself on all cases involving former employers.

But Comey earned $6 million in one year alone from Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin became a Clinton Foundation donor that very year.

Comey served as deputy attorney general under John Ashcroft for two years of the Bush administration. When he left the Bush administration, he went directly to Lockheed Martin and became vice president, acting as a general counsel.

How much money did James Comey make from Lockheed Martin in his last year with the company, which he left in 2010? More than $6 million in compensation.

Lockheed Martin is a Clinton Foundation donor. The company admitted to becoming a Clinton Global Initiative member in 2010.

According to records, Lockheed Martin is also a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, which paid Bill Clinton $250,000 to deliver a speech in 2010.

In 2010, Lockheed Martin won 17 approvals for private contracts from the Hillary Clinton State Department.

HSBC Holdings

In 2013, Comey became a board member, a director, and a Financial System Vulnerabilities Committee member of the London bank HSBC Holdings.

"Mr. Comey's appointment will be for an initial three-year term which, subject to re-election by shareholders, will expire at the conclusion of the 2016 Annual General Meeting," according to HSBC company records.

HSBC Holdings and its various philanthropic branches routinely partner with the Clinton Foundation. For instance, HSBC Holdings has partnered with Deutsche Bank through the Clinton Foundation to "retrofit 1,500 to 2,500 housing units, primarily in the low- to moderate-income sector" in "New York City."

"Retrofitting" refers to a Green initiative to conserve energy in commercial housing units. Clinton Foundation records show that the Foundation projected "$1 billion in financing" for this Green initiative to conserve people's energy in low-income housing units.

Who Is Peter Comey?

When our source called the Chinatown offices of D.C. law firm DLA Piper and asked for "Peter Comey," a receptionist immediately put him through to Comey's direct line. But Peter Comey is not featured on the DLA Piper website.

Peter Comey serves as "Senior Director of Real Estate Operations for the Americas" for DLA Piper. James Comey was not questioned about his relationship with Peter Comey in his confirmation hearing.

DLA Piper is the firm that performed the independent audit of the Clinton Foundation in November during Clinton-World's first big push to put the email scandal behind them. DLA Piper's employees taken as a whole represent a major Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign donation bloc and Clinton Foundation donation base.

DLA Piper ranks #5 on Hillary Clinton's all-time career Top Contributors list, just ahead of Goldman Sachs.

And here is another thing: Peter Comey has a mortgage on his house that is owned by his brother James Comey, the FBI director.

Peter Comey's financial records, obtained by Breitbart News, show that he bought a $950,000 house in Vienna, Virginia, in June 2008. He needed a $712,500 mortgage from First Savings Mortgage Corporation.

But on January 31, 2011, James Comey and his wife stepped in to become Private Party lenders. They granted a mortgage on the house for $711,000. Financial records suggest that Peter Comey took out two such mortgages from his brother that day.

This financial relationship between the Comey brothers began prior to James Comey's nomination to become director of the FBI.

DLA Piper did not answer Breitbart News' question as to whether James Comey and Peter Comey spoke at any point about this mortgage or anything else during the Clinton email investigation.

Peter Comey Re-Designed the FBI Building

FBI Director James Comey grew up in the New Jersey suburbs with his brother Peter. Both Comeys were briefly taken captive in 1977 by the "Ramsey rapist," but the boys managed to escape through a window in their home, and neither boy was harmed.

James Comey became a prosecutor who worked on the Gambino crime family case. He went on to the Bush administration, a handful of private sector jobs, and then the Obama administration in 2013.

Peter Comey, meanwhile, went into construction.

After getting an MBA in real estate and urban development from George Washington University in 1998, Peter Comey became an executive at a company that re-designed George Washington University between 2004 and 2007 while his brother was in town working for the Bush administration.

In January 2009, at the beginning of the Obama administration, Peter Comey became "a real estate and construction consultant" for Procon Consulting.

Procon Consulting's client list includes "FBI Headquarters Washington, DC."

So what did Procon Consulting do for FBI Headquarters? Quite a bit, apparently. According to the firm's records:

Procon provided strategic project management for the consolidation of over 11,000 FBI personnel into one, high security, facility.

Since 1972 the Federal Bureau of Investigation has had its headquarters in a purpose built 2.1 million square foot building on Pennsylvania Avenue. Having become functionally obsolete and in need of major repairs, GSA and the FBI were considering ways to meet the space needs required to maintain the Bureau's mission and consolidate over 11,000 personnel.

Procon assisted GSA in assessing the FBI's space needs and options for fulfilling those needs. Services provided included project management related to site evaluations, budgeting, due diligence, and the development of procurement and funding strategies.

Those "funding strategies" included talking to "stakeholders": "Worked with stakeholders and key leadership to identify strategic objectives, goals and long range plans for capital and real estate projects."

Procon Consulting obtained its contract for FBI Headquarters prior to James Comey's nomination to serve as director of the FBI.

In June 2011, Peter Comey left Procon Consulting to become "Senior Director of Real Estate Operations for the Americas" for DLA Piper.

Peter Comey has generated some controversy in that role. According to Law360 in May 2013 (the same month that James Comey was confirmed as someone being considered by Obama to become FBI director):

Two real estate services businesses filed a $10 million suit against the law firm Monday alleging it stiffed them on as much as $760,000 of work done at DLA Piper's Chicago office and improperly gave proprietary information to a competitor.

The plaintiffs take particular aim at Peter Comey, DLA Piper's senior director of real estate operations. Leasecorp and SpaceLogik include several emails in the complaint that are purportedly from DLA Piper senior real estate partners Jay Epstein and Rich Klawiter and are sharply critical of Comey's handling of the matter. In one email, Epstein wrote that "it's an embarrassment for the firm to be treating someone who we are working with like this."

In another email allegedly from Klawiter on Feb. 20, the DLA Piper partner informed Leasecorp President Michael Walker, a principal for both plaintiffs, that Comey had sent him and Epstein an email claiming that the real estate services firms were behind on their contractual obligations.

"I just received an email from Peter (Jay was also a recipient) that is so inflammatory I can't even send it or you'll hit the roof," Klawiter said in the email, according to the complaint. "This is not going to end well."



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lawyer12

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DNC is who we thought they were: RACISTS AND SEXISTS WHO WANT TO REINSTITUTE SLAVERY AND FIEFDOM like Great Britain had with King George.

Nothing has changed from their mantra.  The sheep clothing is being pulled offer to expose the WOLVES who are no more than Benedict Arnolds.  Any party who takes God out of their platform and wants Government to be your God IS LOST.

They are reaping what they sowed by aligning themselves with Radical Jihad, Islam, KKK, Black Panthers, Domestic Terrorists like Black Lives Matter and Weather Underground Terrorists.

God is allowing the true Democrat Party to be exposed for who they are.  President Lyndon B. Johnson and President Jimmy Carter tried to hide it with his Great Deal and education program in public schools to state that Democrats are the party of freedom.  BUT IT WAS ALL A LIE.
Beckwith

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What happened to my party?

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Kennedy Democrats need to leave now! 

Joel Kotkin (OCRegister) says the nomination of Hillary Clinton has been secured, but the future of the Democratic Party is far from certain. Despite the patina of unity at the end, the Democrats, like their GOP adversaries, seem divided as to their future direction. Each party is being pulled to the extremes by an increasingly unruly base which regards its own establishment as a cesspool of corruption, influence-peddling and naked opportunism.

The devolution of the parties is reflected generally in the record distaste among the electorate toward the two nominees. Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse recently remarked, "There are dumpster fires in my town more popular than these awful candidates." Count me among those looking for some smoldering garbage.

For virtually all of my adult life, I have been a registered Democrat. But as the party has abandoned critical commitments to color-blind racial equality, upward mobility and economic growth, I have moved on to become a registered independent. This makes me part of the fastest-growing "party" in America -- the politically homeless.

From economic growth to cronyism and socialism

Historian Michael Lind suggests in his magisterial "Land of Promise" that, generally, all political parties have embraced the gospel of economic growth. Jacksonians in the early 19th century focused heavily on "producerism," seeking to help those who actually created goods. The original progressives, in both parties, adopted policies favoring modern industry, from infrastructure to education and training. Herbert Croly, the influential early 20th century progressive journalist, described these as "economic agents" leading to greater prosperity.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, with its panoply of price supports and infrastructure projects, was, if nothing else, aimed at restoring prosperity. These policies may have had debatable impact, but certainly by the 1940s -- in large part due to World War II -- the economy was fully stoked. Later, Democrats from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton generally embraced growth as a means to improve the conditions of most Americans, including the working- and middle-class families with whom the party identified itself.

Today, this is changing. Liberals now constitute roughly three in five Democrats, a share twice as large as in 1992, when we elected the first Clinton. Increasingly, liberals, or progressives, are at best ambivalent about economic growth, particularly in such blue-collar fields as fossil fuel energy, manufacturing, agribusiness and suburban homebuilding. Bill Galston, a former close advisor to Bill Clinton, notes that party platform "is truly remarkable -- for example, its near-silence on economic growth." In 2012, for example, Democrats touted the environmental and economic benefits of natural gas. This year's party platform endorses ever-stricter regulation of the industry, while Sen. Bernie Sanders' faction demands a quickly decarbonized economy.

Ironically, such steps will hurt precisely the blue-collar workers Sanders and his minions allegedly care most about. But the Vermont socialist's base is not blue-collar production workers, but rather millennials, low-paid service workers and academics with few ties to tangible industries. Suspicious of broad-based economic growth's impact on the environment, they logically favor redistribution of wealth over seriously growing the pie -- in effect, contradicting nearly a half-century of mainstream Democratic thinking. The Bernie Bros and Gals think that higher taxes and more generous welfare benefits can turn America into a kind of mega-Scandinavia. They ignore the fact that, as author Nima Sanandaji has pointed out, the Nordic welfare state drew from generations of rapid growth built on small government, free markets and cultural factors, and that, in more recent years, countries such as Sweden have embraced a stronger free-market stance in order to pay for their generous welfare systems.

The Sanders campaign has been right about one thing: the nature of the Clinton coalition. Due in part to the awful candidacy of Donald Trump, Hillary is likely to be the most Big Business-backed candidate in American history -- five of the world's 10 richest people favor Clinton. Long the belle of Wall Street, she has secured overwhelming support from increasingly powerful tech, entertainment and media oligarchies. These may acquiesce to the Left on social and environmental issues, but the new oligarchs will be happy to see the back of Bernie's "soak the rich" platform. They can feel confident that Hillary will not threaten the tax and regulatory regime favorable to them, and some cronies, like Elon Musk or Google, can expect another flood of energy-related subsidies to enhance their already massive wealth.

The class divide

Bernie Sanders and his supporters long have argued that the Clintons, even as they denounced greed, got rich themselves, largely by prostituting themselves to some of the most powerful and disreputable moguls on the planet. Of course, there have always been ultra-rich Democrats, as historian G. William Domhoff documented in his 1972 "Fat Cats and Democrats." These tended to come from outside the old Eastern WASP establishment -- notably, Jews on Wall Street and in Hollywood, as well as Texas entrepreneurs like George Brown. Some pro-Democratic Wall Streeters were also involved in municipal finance, which benefited from the expansion of government.

Yet even then, the rich did not dominate "the party of the people," particularly in comparison with the big business shills of the Republican Party. The party coalition included everyone from small farmers, including those from the South, to Main Street businesses to industrial workers to highly educated professionals. Today, only the professionals remain as a reliable segment of the party base, as Thomas Frank and others have noted.

The white working class is now the bulwark of the GOP, along with small-scale entrepreneurs. Both have struggled under the Obama administration. Indeed, Trump's only real hope to win in November is to mobilize millions of these voters -- many of them traditional Democrats -- in swing states like Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan. These voters have little reason to trust the Democrats, notes former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, since Democrats, increasingly dependent on the same donor base as the mainstream GOP, have done little to help them.

The inherent contradiction between the Bernie faction's populism and Hillary's crony capitalism could rile party politics in the coming years. The growth delivered by Obama's economic policies has been wonderful for the investor class but not very good for a rapidly proleterianized middle and working class. How Hillary tries to appease the Left populists while maintaining her financial backers may provide a true test of her political skills.

Race and identity

The Democratic Party's embrace of racial equality in the 1960s represented an enormous step forward for both the country and the party, whose past was mired in slavery and segregation. Yet the Democrats leading the civil rights charge, like Hubert Humphrey, did not endorse the institutionalization of racial quotas. Old-line liberals preferred the notion, advanced by Martin Luther King, that discrimination on the basis of race is always wrong, and that people should instead be judged primarily on "the content of their character."

Yet as the party has alienated its old white working- and middle-class base, racial and gender identity politics have become more important to Democrats. Older white women and minorities essentially saved Hillary's campaign as she lost badly to Sanders among both the young and the remnants of white Democratic working- and middle-class voters. Now Hillary and the Democrats are likely to double down on racial identity politics. This can be seen in the courting of the Black Lives Matter activists and Latino nationalists and the stepping away from Bill Clinton's embrace of tough policies on crime.

Hillary's campaign website, as Oren Cass recently pointed out in a City Journal column, expends many more words talking about racial redress than about the economy. Clinton's policy agenda, he notes, focuses more on "framing issues as who instead of what" in a way that divides people by gender, race, age and sexuality. This applies also to feminist politics that are intrinsic to her appeal. She has already talked about having a cabinet that is half female. Women certainly deserve more seats at the table, as they now outperform men in many areas, but chromosomes should not trump character in a democratic society.

But this kind of categorical imperative seems to have won over the Democratic Party, so much so as to render it unrecognizable to some of its old adherents. Similarly, it's hard to see how more regulations, concessions to well-connected cronies and ever-higher taxes will revive the middle class.


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Beckwith

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Follow the money

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Walter E. Williams (TownHall) says according to a New York Post article (May 22, 2016), in just two years, Hillary Clinton -- former first lady, senator from New York and secretary of state -- collected over $21 million in speaking fees. These fees were paid by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Fidelity Investments, UBS, Bank of America and several hedge fund companies.

In 2015, lobbyists spent $3.22 billion lobbying Congress. In 2013 and 2014, just 10 chemical companies and allied organizations spent more than $154 million lobbying the federal government. The Center for Responsive Politics in 2013 reported that The Dow Chemical Co. "posted record lobbying expenditures" in 2012, "spending nearly $12 million," and was "on pace to eclipse" that amount. Fourteen labor unions were among the top 25 political campaign contributors between 1989 and 2014.

Many Americans lament the fact that so much money goes to Washington. Let's ask ourselves why corporations, labor unions and other groups spend billions upon billions of dollars on political campaigns, pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a speech and wine and dine politicians and their staffs. Do you think that these are just civic-minded Americans who want to encourage elected officials to live up to their oath of office to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution? Do you think that people who spend billions of dollars on politicians just love participating in the political process? If you believe that either one of those notions applies, you're probably a candidate for a straitjacket and padded cell.

A much better explanation for the billions of dollars spent on Washington politicians lies in the awesome growth of government power over business, property, employment and most other areas of our lives. Having such life-and-death power, Washington politicians are in the position to grant favors. The greater their power to grant favors the greater the value of being able to influence Congress. The generic favor sought is to get Congress, under one ruse or another, to grant a privilege or right to one group of Americans that will be denied to another group of Americans. In other words, billions of dollars are spent to get Congress to do things that would be reprehensible and criminal if done privately. Let's look at one tiny representative example among the tens of thousands.

The Fanjuls are among the biggest sugar cane growers in the U.S. Both they and Archer Daniels Midland benefit immensely from reducing the amount of sugar imported to our shores from the Caribbean and elsewhere. As a result of the reduction, they can charge Americans higher prices for sugar, and because of these higher prices, ADM can sell more of its corn syrup sweetener. If they used guns and goons to stop foreign sugar from entering the U.S., they'd wind up in jail. However, if they find ways to persuade congressmen to impose tariffs and quotas on foreign sugar, they get the same result without risking imprisonment. In 2014, the combined lobbying expenditures of the Fanjuls and ADM totaled $2.8 million, and they spent $754,002 in political contributions.

The two most powerful committees of Congress are the House Ways and Means and the Senate Finance committees. Congressmen fight to be on these committees, which are in charge of tax laws. As a result, committee members are besieged with campaign contributions. Why? A tweak here and a tweak there in the tax code can mean millions of dollars to individuals and corporations.

You might ask: What can be done? Campaign finance and lobbying reforms will only change the method of influence-peddling. If Americans would demand that Congress do only what's specifically enumerated in our Constitution, influence-peddling would be much smaller. That's because our Constitution contains no authority for Congress to grant favors or special privileges or give one American the earnings of another American.

Seeing as most Americans do not want a constitutionally bound Congress, I am all too afraid that an observation attributed to Benjamin Franklin is correct: "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."

Related:  Cryptic filing reveals millions in foreign donations to Clinton Foundation while Hillary was at State Department



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Beckwith

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Obama's brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, joins ESPN as analyst

The AP is reporting that Craig Robinson, the former Oregon State coach and Barack Obama's brother-in-law, is joining ESPN as a college basketball analyst.

The network said Tuesday that Robinson will call games and work in the studio for college sports channel ESPNU.

Robinson was fired in May after going 94-105 (47%) in six seasons with the Beavers. A former Princeton star, he started his college head coaching career at Brown, going 30-28 (51%).

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The 52-year-old Robinson, one of college basketball's worst coaches, is the older brother of Michelle Obama.

The guy's a loser as a coach so he gets a cushy job at ESPN.

Is America a great country or what?



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Sarah Palin says Obama purrin' with fat cats instead of dealing with border crisis and national security

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Tony Lee is reporting that on Saturday, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin blasted Barack Obama for caring more about fundraisers with wealthy "fat cats" over the border crisis and national security.

Speaking at the Western Conservative Summit in Colorado, Palin said Obama must have "vertigo" from "spinning from one crisis to another." Palin mentioned that Obama decided to shoot pool in Colorado recently and then went to the border state of Texas to attend three fundraisers without bothering to go down to the border. Obama attended fundraisers after a Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down this week, and Palin mentioned Obama even preferred hanging out with his "fat cats" while the Middle East was "exploding into chaos."

Palin said Obama "so disparages" the "fat cats" in public but in private "there's a whole lot of cuddlin' and purrin' and tummy ticklin' with the ones who feed him." She noted that "fat cats" was "his term, not my term."

"Politics isn’t a just passionate cause for these folks; it’s a money maker," she said. "A business. And when the crony capitalists gather to wine and dine, the rest of us are on the menu. We're not invited to the party."

Palin said the permanent political class on both sides of the aisle  just "eat it up" and are "just swallowing that largesse."

But Palin said the "Forgotten Man" who does not begrudge wealth but will never get invites to mingle with Obama's fat cats is left behind. Palin, as she has been doing since she entered the political arena, urged Republicans to fight for the "Forgotten Man" of all races and backgrounds. She said the Obama administration has decimated the "Forgotten Man" on Main Street by not enforcing its immigration laws and with its disastrous economic policies.



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Biden's "good friend," donor receives $20M federal loan to open foreign luxury car dealership in Ukraine

In late July, John Hynansky -- a longtime friend of Vice President Joe Biden, and a major donor to Biden's campaigns as well as President Barack Obama's -- was awarded a $20 million taxpayer loan to build a foreign-car dealership in Ukraine.

According to a public summary document, the loan, from the federal government's Overseas Private Investment[icon1] Corporation, is for "[u]p to $20.0 million," and is designed to "expand Winner Import Ukraine's automobile business, [and] construct and operate 'Winner Autocity,' which will have two new, state-of-the-art dealership facilities for Porsche and Land Rover/Jaguar automobiles."

Porsche is a German-made luxury and sports car, and Jaguar Land Rover is a British luxury and sports car company owned by an Indian subsidiary.

Under "U.S. Economic Impact," the summary document says, "This project will have a positive developmental impact on the host country, Ukraine. The project will generate a significant number of new local jobs. Running a dealership for premium automobile brands requires a highly trained sales force, mechanics, accountants, communications and advertising specialists, IT specialists, service personnel, warehouse managers, and customer relations specialists."

Along with his family, Hynansky also owns car dealerships in Pennsylvania and Biden's home state of Delaware.

Since at least 1999, Hynansky and his family have been regular donors to Biden's campaigns, and, later, Obama's. John Hynansky has donated $7,690 to a combination of Biden's Senate campaigns and failed presidential campaign; Michael Hynansky donated $7,690; Alexandra Hynansky donated $7,280; Deanne Hynansky donated $4,645; and Susan Hynansky donated $1,000 -- coming to a total family donation of $28,715.

During Obama's 2008 run for president, John Hynansky gave $30,800 to the Obama Victory Fund; Alexandra Hynansky gave $2,550; and Deanne Hynansky gave $2,000 -- totaling $35,350 to that campaign.

Understandably, during a speech during a diplomatic trip to Ukraine in 2009, Biden described John Hynansky as "my very good friend, John Hynansky, a very prominent businessman from Delaware… I had breakfast with him the other day."

Though the Overseas Private Investment Corporation report says that "the project is not expected to have a negative impact on the U.S.economy or employment," the revelation that Biden's "very good friend" and donor, John Hynansky, received a taxpayer loan to open a business selling foreign luxury cars in a foreign country using foreign labor stands in stark contrast to the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign charges that the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan campaign stands for breaks for big business and shipping American jobs overseas.

At the time of publication, the White House had not returned requests for comment.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/17/bidens-good-friend-donor-receives-20m-federal-loan/#ixzz31E43Lsgn


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Obama's dirty watchdogs

Michelle Malkin says the Obama administration doesn't have watchdogs. It has whitewash puppies.

Barack Obama's Chicago bullies have defanged true advocates for integrity in government in D.C. from day one. So the latest report by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Operations Committee on corruptocrat Charles K. Edwards, the former Department of Homeland Security inspector general, isn't a revelation. It's confirmation.

Investigators found that Edwards compromised the independence of his office by socializing and sucking up to senior DHS officials. "There are many blessings to be thankful for this year," the sycophantic Edwards wrote to the DHS acting counsel on Thanksgiving 2011, "but one of the best is having a friend like you." Geez, get them a room.

Whistleblowers outlined how Edwards cozied up to multiple DHS execs and legal staffers, who directed him to alter reports on immigration enforcement, TSA screening and the Secret Service's dalliances with prostitutes in Argentina. Edwards failed to obtain independent legal analysis of ethics issues. The IG counsel was cut out of the loop. Edwards ordered reports to be doctored or delayed. He failed to recuse himself from audits and inspections that had conflicts of interest related to his wife's employment.

The probe among DHS employees also discovered that Edwards' apparent retaliatory actions against staff dissenters "contributed to an office environment characterized by low morale, fear and general dissatisfaction with Mr. Edwards' leadership."

The Obama White House was quite happy, however. The administration installed this 20-year career bureaucrat as acting DoJ senior watchdog despite the fact that he had zero experience conducting audits, investigations and inspections -- the three fundamental duties of an inspector general. They got exactly what they needed: A do-nothing, know-nothing, toothless lackey.

Edwards' main non-accomplishment was carrying water for the Obama corruptocracy as he dithered on the internal investigation of Alejandro Mayorkas, who was confirmed late last year as the No. 2 official at Homeland Security. As I've previously reported, veteran internal whistleblowers told Capitol Hill about fraud, reckless rubber-stamping and lax enforcement under Mayorkas' tenure as head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Put on your shocked faces: The DoJ's IG probe into Mayorkas' role on fast-tracking visas for wealthy Chinese investors on behalf of GreenTech -- the crony company with ties to Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Hillary Clinton's other brother, Anthony -- has yet to be completed after more than a year.

Former DHS crook-in-chief Janet Napolitano continues to deny any wrongdoing. Conveniently, Napolitano's longtime aide and crony pal Suzanne Barr, former chief of staff to former DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement head John Morton, left office just after whistleblower allegations about Barr's lewd conduct and sexual harassment of underlings surfaced. Guess who was "in charge" as the scandal broke open? Whitewash puppy Charles K. Edwards.

As always, the fish rots from the head down. Remember: Team Hope and Change sacked former Amtrak Inspector General Fred Weiderhold and former Americorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin for exposing financial improprieties and calling out Obama officials' interference with their probes.

And the current kennel of Obama cover-up enablers masquerading as watchdogs includes Interior Department acting IG Mary Kendall. She remains under investigation for allegations that she potentially helped White House officials cover up their doctoring of scientific documents that led to the fraudulent, job-killing drilling moratorium of 2010.

Then there was former DoJ acting inspector Cynthia Schnedar, a longtime employee and colleague of now-Attorney General Eric Holder, who recklessly released secret Operation Fast and Furious audiotapes to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix before reviewing them. She resigned in 2012 to avoid the heat.

When the Senate panel called Charles K. Edwards to testify last December about his own hot ethics mess, the White House promptly whisked Edwards out of the job and transferred him to the "science and technology" division of DoJ.

Funny how the "most transparent administration in American history" loves to play hide and seek with its dirty watchdogs. Heels, the whole lot of them.


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IG: DoE ignored internal expert’s advice in subsidizing bankrupt solar company

Report may increase scrutiny of DOE decision to restart loan program

Reported by BY: Lachlan Markay
The Department of Energy ignored warnings by internal solar experts when it subsidized a solar company backed by a major Democratic donor that went bankrupt in 2012, according to a report from federal watchdogs.

Abound Solar filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in June 2012 and laid off 125 employees. By that time it had drawn on almost $70 million of its $400 million DOE loan guarantee.

According to a DOE inspector general report released on Thursday, market conditions led to Abound’s collapse, but the department, while aware of those conditions, ignored the advice of its own experts when it continued financing the company in 2011.

“We found that [DOE’s] internal solar expert had previously expressed concerns to the program regarding deficiencies in Abound’s quality control,” the IG’s office wrote in its report.

Those deficiencies were apparent mere months after DOE approved support for the company, in December 2010. Credit rating service Fitch at the timecalled Abound a “highly speculative” investment.

Initial quality control problems forced Abound to make production changes that hindered its loan repayment ability. DOE suspended loan payments in February 2011, but despite warnings from its own solar industry expert, restarted those payments two months later.

The solar expert’s assessment conflicted with that of an independent engineer tasked with assessing the project’s financial health, but the department did not adequately address that discrepancy in opinions, the IG said.

“Despite the technical shortfalls and the identified concerns regarding quality control, the program approved the restart of disbursements in April 2011, without reconciling the conflicting opinions of the independent engineer and the solar expert,” the report explains.

Abound was backed financially by Bohemian Companies, an investment firm owned by Democratic mega-donor Pat Stryker. Bohemian was also one of Abound’s largest customers, purchasing its solar panels for the company’s Loveland, Colo., headquarters.

In an early sign of trouble for Abound, Bohemian had to remove an entire rooftop of solar panels due to product defects a month before DOE approved its support for the company.

According to the IG, “Abound’s solar panels were underperforming by as much as 15 percent” a month after its loan guarantee went through. The company’s second largest customer, who is not identified in the IG report, returned $2.2 million in defective panels.

Those defects, together with adverse solar panel market conditions, led to serious financial trouble for Abound. But the IG questioned the DOE loan program’s ability to adequately monitor and respond to such conditions.

“The program had not fully developed policies and procedures for awarding, monitoring and administering loans,” the report found.

Those problems, the IG said, led to decisions to continue awarding funds to Abound even when it was clear that the company was in dire financial straits.

“Despite ongoing technical and financial problems encountered by Abound, which should have warranted increased scrutiny, it was not placed on such a [credit watch] list until September 2011 when it failed to meet construction and financial milestones,” the report noted.

Even after DOE restarted its Abound loan payments, the IG found that it did not have a means of formally monitoring the solar market for trends that might spell trouble for DOE loan recipients.

The loan program office “continued to move forward with the project without fully evaluating significant financial and market changes that subsequently occurred,” the IG wrote.

Loan program officials told the IG’s office that they were, in fact, monitoring the market, the IG “found no evidence of ongoing analyses in the files provided.”

Some DOE loan program staffers had irreconcilable opinions about the company’s financial soundness, but the IG noted that a portfolio manager contracted to DOE’s loan programs was woefully under qualified.

“Specifically, we found that this individual had no prior loan management experience and had a limited background in project finance and financial statement analysis, yet he was assigned to manage a number of loans totaling over $2 billion,” the report noted.

The contractor said prior to leaving the loan program office that he had not completed reports on the creditworthiness of DOE loan recipients because doing so was “very difficult.”

William Yeatman, a senior fellow for the Competitive Enterprise Institute specializing in environmental policy, called the IG report “stunning,” and said it demonstrated that DOE’s loan program officers were “reckless” in their stewardship of taxpayer funds.

“Alas, these are the sorts of scandals inherent to government programs that pick winners and losers on the market,” Yeatman said in an email.

“The Obama administration views the Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office as a tool to advance alternative energy, and responsible stewardship of taxpayer money is secondary to this policy purpose.”

The loan program office denied that it had failed to reconcile the various internal assessments of Abound’s ability to repay taxpayers.

Its independent engineer, wrote Peter Davidson, the office’s executive director, “directly responded to nine of the eleven issues raised by the internal solar expert and encompassed the other two remaining issues at a high level in the [engineer’s] report’s conclusions.”

Apparent problems with the management of Abound’s loan guarantee and other concerns about political favoritism could heighten scrutiny of DOE’s decision this month to restart one of the department’s stimulus backed loan programs.

While the program is not the same one that provided Abound with its loan guarantee, Abound’s financial troubles have previously been held up by critics of DOE’s green energy loan programs as emblematic of the financial risks associated with such projects.

“This decision to grant this company taxpayer support will end up costing taxpayers up to $70 million,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) at a 2012 hearingof the House Oversight subcommittee overseeing stimulus spending.

“Had it not been for the attention drawn to problems with the loan program … the losses may have been much greater,” Jordan said.

He also raised concerns that the company received taxpayer support due to the political connections of its top investors.

“I think we can all agree that there is something fundamentally flawed about the implementation of this policy by the Department of Energy and its Loan Program Office, which has rewarded the friends of the administration at the expense of the American people,” Jordan said.

Bohemian’s Pat Stryker is a major Democratic donor. According an Oversight report, she donated $50,000 and bundled $87,500 for President Barack Obama’s inauguration. She also donated $35,000 to the 2012 Obama Victory Fund.

According to Yahoo News chief political correspondent Matt Bai, Stryker “helped bring about a Democratic revival” in Colorado.

Abound has been on this thread before:
Obama's donor list
The stimulus loan
Layoff of 70% of their work force
Going Bust
White House involved with loan


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First Solar has made this thread before...

Obama's Donor list 

and Taxpayers money, Green Energy loan from the stimulus

as a side note, their stocks seem to have been making quite the news lately...
https://www.google.com/search?q=first+solar&oq=first+solar&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i61j0l4.1998j0j4&sourceid=chrome&espv=2&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8#q=first+solar&start=20&tbm=nws



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Clinton & Obama cronies behind Bundy showdown

James Simpson is reporting that following a weeklong confrontation between protestors and police from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), events at the Bundy ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada came to an abrupt end on Saturday, April 11, when the BLM suddenly threw in the towel and left. Speaking to a local TV news program Monday, Nevada Senator and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “This isn’t over…” And he is certainly correct. The showdown between BLM and Cliven Bundy -- the last rancher in Clark County, Nevada -- was but the latest battle in a long-running conflict, and it is sure to continue. Too much is at stake.

Supposedly at issue was the desert tortoise, a reptile on the endangered species list which could not coexist on the land with Bundy’s cattle. But why would the turtle suddenly be threatened by animals it had cohabited with for the 100 plus years the Bundy ranch has been in operation?

A BLM document unearthed last week discusses mitigation strategies for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone. Dry Lake is just southwest of the Bundy ranch. The “mitigation strategy” proposed to use the grazing lands near the Bundy ranch as a kind of sanctuary for the desert tortoise, because the entire region is slated for a large number of solar, wind and geothermal energy generation facilities. The solar projects especially will obliterate most of the turtle’s natural habitat.

Bloggers quickly made a connection between the effort to remove Bundy’s cattle and a solar energy project located in Southern Nevada and financed by the Communist Chinese energy firm ENN. It was to be the largest solar farm in the U.S. Senator Reid had lobbied heavily for their business, even traveling to China to do so. Reid’s son, formerly a Clark County Commissioner, became a lobbyist for ENN, and Reid placed a former senior advisor, Neil Kornze, to lead the BLM, presumably to assure the enterprise’s success.

Seemed like a slam dunk. But a solar energy complex financed by the Communist Chinese was not at the heart of the Bundy Ranch fiasco after all. That project died last year. However, the BLM’s library of renewable energy projects accessed by the author revealed it was only one of more than 50 solar, wind and geothermal projects planned for Nevada, California, Arizona and other Western states. Reid was actually focused on at least one, and maybe more of these projects, much closer to the Bundy ranch. He was at the work site on March 21, 2014 to help break ground on the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project. A close inspection of this project reveals why there is so much interest in the area and why the BLM, presumably at Reid’s urging through his water boy, Neil Kornze, is so intent on getting Bundy off the land. Reid, for all his rampant corruption (the Nevada mob call him “Cleanface”), looks to be little more than the bagman in this caper. Oh sure, he and his boys will get rich, but not like the others.

The leaseholder for this project is K Road Power, LLC, a New York City-based energy company. An examination of their website finds their business development manager to be none other than Jonathan Magaziner. Magaziner was formerly an associate at the Clinton Climate Initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation. He is also the son of Ira Magaziner, former senior policy advisor for Bill Clinton, also now conveniently working for the Clinton Foundation on health and environment issues. Just one big, happy, and soon to be even richer, family. There are doubtless more connections to Democratic insiders here.

But that is not all. A company called First Solar is listed on a BLM renewable energy project map of southern Nevada, one of 11 sited in Clark County. Additionally, the map shows six wind projects in Clark County, and also lists the K Road Moapa project under “transmission projects.” In other words, there is a lot going on. How did the media miss all that?

First Solar investors comprise a who’s who of the corrupt, Democratic Left insider crowd, including major Obama campaign bundlers, billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones, Al Gore, Ted Turner and Goldman Sachs. First Solar’s CEO is Michael Ahearn, former fundraiser for both Obama and Senator Harry Reid. First Solar has at least three other solar projects in California. So it becomes very apparent why the BLM, Harry Reid and many other interested parties have such an intense interest in the desert tortoise. They see green, oceans of it. But it is the kind that lines pockets, not the high desert.

This story has been completely missed by all mass media, even Fox News, but it explains both why Cliven Bundy has been facing such intense intimidation and why all the other ranchers have been chased out. Bundy is not merely threatening Harry Reid’s gravy train, but Obama’s, Clinton’s, Gore’s and an A list rogue’s gallery of professional Democrat sponges. It is surprising he is still alive.

This is what has been discovered by examining only a few of the 50-plus projects. Doubtless there is a similar story behind all of them. These entrepreneurial parasites are planning to turn the West into a massive money pit for “green” energy. The projects will eventually go as all others have gone before: falling in flames as the unsustainable costs, maintenance problems and true environmental catastrophes they create become intolerable. The true goal of “green” energy is to make these people wealthier, not to save the environment. As usual with this president, the American taxpayer will be left holding the bag, while he and his cronies will be long gone, laughing all the way to the bank.

This story needs to make national headlines. If there is a shred of integrity left in the mass media, now would be the time to show it. It is not possible that they are unaware of what is happening.


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It pays to be Obama's envoy

Peter Lucas says:  I am thinking of selling the house, borrowing money, then bundling it all and giving it to Barack Obama.

That way I can become U.S. Ambassador to Albania.

Of course, I could just give the man the money outright. But that might look like I am buying the ambassador's job in a sort of "pay to play" manner. That would be wrong and illegal. So it is better if I give it to one of his committees. It sort of launders the cash, as it were.

Also, I figure it sounds more impressive if I bundle it. That way it appears that I gathered the money from a host of willing donors, rather than coming up with it all by myself.

In the old days a person would just hand the money to the politician in a brown paper bag, hence the term bagman. But bundling sounds much more sophisticated, and no one in Washington or elsewhere would be caught dead these days being called a bagman. Bundler, maybe, bagman, no.

Anyway, the idea came to me when I read about all the unqualified people Obama is naming as ambassadors to a lot of important and not-so-important countries.

These people, who appeared before recent Senate Foreign Affairs Committee confirmation hearings, all seemed to have three things in common.

One is that they all gave substantial amounts of money to Obama. The second is that they didn't know anything about the country where they were headed. And third, they had neither been to the country nor could speak the local language. Other than that they were just swell.

Noah Mamet, a Hollywood fundraiser, whom Obama nominated to be ambassador to Argentina, told the committee that he had never been to Argentina though, presumably, he knew where it was. Mamet raised more than $500,000 for Obama's re-election.

Boston lawyer Robert C. Barber, whom Obama nominated to be ambassador to Iceland, has never been to Iceland. He did raise $1.6 million for Obama in 2012, however.

George Tsunis, CEO of Chartwell Hotels and a Long Island lawyer, nominated to be ambassador to Norway, was attacked by the Norwegian press over his lack of knowledge about the country and its politics, He was unaware that Norway's anti-immigration Progress Party was part of the government, and mistakenly referred to the country's president when Norway has no president. Tsunis raised $1.6 million for Obama.

Hollywood's Colleen Bell, producer of the soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful," who was nominated by Obama to be ambassador to Hungary, so stammered her way before the committee that it was almost an act of mercy when it came to an end. She raised some $800,000 for Obama.

It was at the end of her and Tsunis' testimony that committee member Sen. John McCain, looking up in wonder, said, "I have no more questions for this incredibly, highly qualified group of nominees." McCain said later that Obama's recent nominees were "truly alarming" because of their lack of qualifications. "When you put someone in an ambassador's position who hasn't even been to the country, you are rolling the dice," McCain said..

Obama is not the first president to appoint campaign fundraisers to ambassadorships, as opposed to career foreign service officers. He is just more blatant about it. But unlike JFK, for instance, the slogan of Obama's appointees is: "Ask not what you can do for your country, but what the country can do for you."

All nominees go through State Department briefings before they appear before Congress for confirmation. It is a sort of an ambassador school. Well, this group appeared to have flunked the course.

Tom Korologos, former U.S. ambassador to Belgium under George H. W. Bush, who prepped GOP nominees for confirmation hearings, told The Washington Post that he was "amazed" at how this group of nominees was so unprepared. "When I went up for confirmation as ambassador to Belgium, I knew more about Belgium than the Belgians did," he said.

Which brings this down to me. I have visited Albania many times. I have written three books about Albania and am working on a fourth. I know the people and the customs. I know the language. I know the politicians, including the current prime minister and the man he defeated. 

But looking over this crowd of unqualified, shameless job buyers, I have decided that I am overqualified and cannot afford to be associated with this riff-raff. I have my reputation to consider. So count me out.

Can I get buy a judgeship instead?


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Obama to fund public/private manufacturing institutes in Chicago and Detroit

Jim Hoft says in what might be interpreted as a kickback to his fellow Democrats, and an end run around the "stalemate" in Congress, according to an article on the latimes.com website, Barack Obama is to announce on Tuesday that he is moving ahead with his economic plan (even if Congress isn’t) by opening two new Manufacturing Institutes in Detroit and Chicago funded in a joint Public/Private partnership between the Department of Defense, several private corporations and Universities:

Barack Obama plans to announce on Tuesday the opening of two new manufacturing institutes in the Chicago and Detroit areas as part of a larger plan to use public-private partnerships to advance his agenda despite opposition from Republicans in Congress.

Several federal agencies will join forces with companies and universities to run the institutes, which will be devoted to bridging the gap between applied research and product development, according to an administration official familiar with the plans.

Each institute will function as a "teaching factory," the official said, and will provide training for workers while also helping companies get the expertise and equipment they need to offer new products and manufacturing processes.

The government will put up $140 million to match the more than $140 million promised by the private sector leaders involved with each project, said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss the plans before the official announcement next week. The federal government will devote $70 million to each of the two institutes.

Chicago? Obama is just sending paying off some old markers.

Detroit? Fuggedaboudit!

Detroit.jpg



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The only real backstop that our embassies have overseas is the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM). This post is filled by a career diplomat. Many of the DCMs go on to become ambassadors outside of the EU or Japan. I read someplace that the usurper has a higher ratio of appointed ambassadors. The downside to DCMs and embassy personnel that I have dealt with is that they tend to be  big libs.
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White House air-miles program 

Tom Rogan says most air-miles schemes will give you an upgrade or a complimentary flight. But not the president’s. Bundle enough money for him, and you can become America’s chief representative to a foreign nation.

Education? Relevant managerial experience? A history of traveling? Basic understanding of a foreign state?

Preferred but not required. Just show us the cash.

Imagine that the same process applied for senior appointments to the U.S. military. Imagine if, for example, the actor Will Smith was able to buy a military commission.

Of course, we’d never accept it. The very thought of comparing Will Smith to Stan McChrystal is laughable. Yet somehow, when it comes to diplomacy, we’re willing to accept a corollary lunacy. By Obama’s standards, Smith’s celebrity bundling and Independence Day heroics would be more than enough to justify his being awarded an ambassador’s residence.

Sure, some claim that military service and diplomatic service are inherently different. And while it’s true that their nature and risks diverge, diplomacy, too, is far from simple. Indeed, American diplomacy is deadly serious -- both for our diplomats and for us, the citizens they represent. Were it not for America’s first ambassadors to France and Holland -- great statesmen with diplomatic pedigree -- America’s earliest years might also have been our final years.

That fine tradition lives on.

Today, all across the world, skilled American diplomats are persuading foreign governments to welcome our commerce and support our foreign policy. In doing so, they’re helping to improve lives, create new jobs, establish new investment, and make us safer. In the age of unrestrained globalization, their work is invaluable and extraordinarily serious.

But when the president’s nominee to become our next ambassador to Norway doesn’t know which parties serve in Norway’s government, or when Obama's nominees to Argentina and Iceland haven’t visited those nations and offer pathetic excuses in explanation, it implies (to put it mildly) a lack of seriousness. It suggests that Obama doesn’t care about the ultimate purpose of diplomacy: the good service of American interests.

The Argentina nomination raises a special point. Here, the White House has now managed to insult both Argentina and our closest ally, the U.K. The flowing narrative is undeniable: Diplomacy is all about domestic political patronage, and all other concerns come in a distant second. Correspondingly, this arrogance feeds the worst form of anti-Americanism, fostering the notion that we don’t have any interest in our partners, that we take international relations for granted.

But what’s most surprising about these latest appointments is the audacity of their timing. You’d think that with America’s diplomatic credibility struggling, Obama would nominate top candidates to lead our embassies. Instead, just as he once insulted a distinguished general, Obama now nominates inadvertent comedians with terrible repertoires.

To be fair, Obama is far from alone in his questionable appointments. Take President George W. Bush’s first ambassador to London. By all accounts a thoroughly decent man, Ambassador William Stamps Farish III nonetheless failed to speak for America. Or what about President Clinton’s final ambassador to London? As a teenager, I remember watching (then recently retired) Philip Lader struggle his way through a post-9/11 appearance on the U.K.’s premier political talk show (tellingly, Farish was absent). Lader wasn’t up to the task. We needed expertise in that chair. Instead, America was left voiceless in the face of challenge.

In the end, we have only ourselves to blame. We’re doing to our diplomacy what Britain stopped doing to its army nearly 150 years ago.

A senior British diplomat once told me that American Foreign Service officers are talented and determined, the envy of the world. Anyone who has met even a few American diplomats knows this to be true.

Yet this understanding always seems to end at the gates of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Take Jay Carney. By his own admission, he didn’t see the Norway nominee’s meltdown during his congressional testimony. Regardless, the press secretary proudly asserted that the White House retained “confidence” in the candidate.

The rewards-card administration: where money talks and merit walks. What a sorry state of affairs for the world’s indispensable nation.

Still, there’s hope.

This is a rare issue on which many liberals and conservatives agree. Beyond the festering political-patronage networks, there’s a growing consensus that American diplomacy should be served by those who have the experience, training, and temperament fit for such a great task. After all, while other nations send their best and brightest to Washington, we all too often reciprocate with clowns. Political donors should not have the right to buy the title hard earned by public servants like Ryan Crocker, Nancy Powell, and Chris Stevens.

We must decide whether to celebrate patronage or celebrate patriotism. The two cannot coexist.


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Rogin destroys Psaki over "track record" of Obama political appointees failing as ambassadors

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting that Daily Beast reporter Josh Rogin took State Department Press Secretary Jen Psaki to task over her contention Obama political appointees generally have made good ambassadors Friday in the State Department press conference.

Rogin, citing the State Department’s own Inspector General Office, listed a litany of transgressions committed by Obama administration ambassadors who were political appointees. The embarrassments Rogin highlighted included the Ambassador to the Bahamas taking 270 personal days over 18 months and the Ambassador to Belgium being investigated for soliciting prostitutes in the park near his house.

Given this track record, The Daily Beast reporter asked if Psaki would draw a distinction between the performance of political appointees and career public servants as ambassadors. Psaki sidestepped in her response, replying she would not “speak to a range of reports” but reiterated the administration’s line some appointees from a political background can be capable ambassadors.

ABC’s Jonathon Karl wanted to know what it costs to be an ambassador?

Just watch this:


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Get konnected with "The Kronies" action figures

The Kronies are in action...Mandating, Tarrify-ing, Inflating, and Boondoggling their way to profits powered by their special konnection to the G-Force. Watch Big-G and his team stomp out competition!


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Obama donor wins bid to take over HealthCare.gov

Aaron Klein is reporting that the global consulting firm that just won a one-year government contract to continue fixing HealthCare.gov is a big political donor to Barack Obama.

On Friday it was reported Accenture, a global consulting firm, obtained the $45-million "no bid" contract to run the ObamaCare health insurance website. The company is taking over from CGI Federal, one of two contractors that originally built the problematic HealthCare.gov portal, with CGI's contract set to expire on Feb. 28.

Unmentioned in the scores of news articles covering the successful Accenture bid is that Obama is the top all-time recipient of the firm's many financial contributions, with the president taking in a total of $286,168 from Accenture employees, family members and its political action committee.

No. 2 for Accenture's donations is former Republican New Jersey State Sen. Bob Martin, and No. 3 is former President George W. Bush at $164,250. Mitt Romney received $73,085 from Accenture. Hillary Clinton raked in $50,515 in contributions from the firm, with John Kerry accepting $45,853.

Obama has a further connection to Accenture. The chief scientist for Obama's 2012 campaign's data analytics team, Rayid Ghani, worked at Accenture for 10 years before leaving the firm to take up the position with the president's reelection team.

The ObamaCare website is not the first public contract awarded to Accenture. In 2011, the firm won a $85-million contract for Kansas' healthcare database, the funding for which came mostly from the federal government.

Accenture previously was incorporated in America but then reportedly moved to the tax haven of Bermuda. The firm is currently incorporated in Dublin, Ireland, even though its operational headquarters are in Chicago.


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Unions get big Obama Christmas present

Larry Bell says that as a presumed constitutional scholar, Barack Obama should know that while a president has authority to check the Legislative Branch by recommending legislation to be passed by Congress, or through presidential veto, he or she cannot legislate through executive fiat or pick which parts of the law to comply with or decline. Article 2, Section 3, Clause 5 of our Constitution requires that the president "…shall take care that the Laws be carefully executed."  It doesn't limit those laws or encapsulated provisions to the particular ones that he or she likes.

Speaking before the House Judiciary Committee on December 3, Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University observed that the president isn't taking that "Laws be faithfully executed" oath very seriously, particularly with regard to his signature Affordable Care Act (aka."ObamaCare").

Although Turley had voted for Obama and professes to agree with him on health care and other issues, he warned that his power grabs are causing "the most serious constitutional crisis in my lifetime."

The White House earns its union label:

In addition to delaying and rewriting key ACA provisions and carving out a special subsidy for members of Congress, Obama's latest constitutional violation will exempt unions from a fee the law imposes upon all large group health plans. That provision which appears in Section 1341 (b)(1)(A)  establishes a reinsurance program to compensate insurers on exchanges in the individual market if they are hit with higher than expected costs to cover those with pre-existing conditions. This will come from insurers and self-insured employers who pay in proportion to the number of people they cover. The target is to raise $25 billion during 2014, amounting to $63 per covered employee. The union exemption would kick in for 2015 and 2016.

As reported in a Wall Street Journal editorial, "The unions hate this reinsurance transfer because it takes from their members in the form of higher premiums and gives to people on the exchanges."

The union exemption deal will require that insurers who aren't fully reimbursed by fees along with non-exempted self-insured employers will have to pay more to make up the shortfall. How will they make that up? How else but by passing on higher costs to their customers? The Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed that the fee for other non-exempt plans will be higher as a result.

Responding to union pressure, an exemption buried on page 72,340 of the December 2 Federal Register states: "Our continued study of this issue leads us to believe that this provision may reasonably be interpreted in one of two ways -- it may be interpreted to mean that self-insured, self- administered plans must make reinsurance contributions, or it may be interpreted to mean that such plans are excluded from the obligation…upon further consideration of the issue, we believe the statutory language can reasonably be read…"

Yet as Betsy McCaughey points out in an Investor's Business Daily piece, while Taft-Hartley plans self -insure and self-administer, the weasel-wording is a ruse. She writes:  "That's a lie. The ACA's reinsurance provision doesn't use the word 'self-insured' or distinguish between plans that pay their own claims and plans that hire administrators."

Here, "self-insured" refers to a business which pays directly for its workers' policy costs and hires an insurer as a third-party administrator to process claims and manage care. "Self-administered" plans go one step farther and manage their benefits in-house. As the Wall Street Journal observes, other than collectively-bargained Taft-Hartley plans, "Almost no business in the real world still follows this old –fashioned practice". Such insurance covers about 20 million union members, and about four out of five Taft-Hartley trusts.

Eleven Republican senators who see the exemption as blatant congressional circumvention and cronyism by the Obama administration to curry favor with political allies have introduced a bill called the "Union Tax Fairness Act" (S. 1724) to block it. Included are U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John Thune (R-SD), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), James Inhofe (R-OK), David Vitter (R-LA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ron Johnson (R-WS), John Barrasso (R-WY), Tim Scott (R-SC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), and Tom Coburn (R-OK).


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Obama frees Deval Patrick's cousin, 20 others -- Coupe Deval says, "who?"

Gary J. Remal and John Zaremba are reporting that Gov. Deval Patrick's convicted drug dealer cousin was among eight people whose hefty sentences were commuted yesterday by Barack Obama, who cited a disparity in penalties for crack cocaine.

Reynolds Allen Wintersmith Jr., 39, is serving a life sentence for drug trafficking and has been imprisoned since 1994.

Patrick's office said in a statement: "Mr. Wintersmith is the Governor's first cousin. The Governor has no recollection of meeting Mr. Wintersmith (they are quite far apart in age), and believes that if they did meet it would have been when Mr. Wintersmith was a small boy. The Governor was not involved in any application for a commutation of Mr. Wintersmith's sentence, and only learned of the commutation through today's media reports.

Wintersmith's case had been adopted by advocates and crusading attorneys. All eight inmates were sentenced under old federal guidelines that treated convictions for crack cocaine offenses more harshly than those involving the powder form of the drug. Obama also pardoned 13 others for various crimes.

The president signed the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010 to cut penalties for crack cocaine offenses in order to reduce the disparity. But the act addressed only new cases, not old ones.

Obama said those whose sentences he commuted yesterday have served at least 15 years in prison, many under mandatory minimums that required judges to impose long sentences even if they didn't think the time fit the crime.

"If they had been sentenced under the current law, many of them would have already served their time and paid their debt to society," Obama said in a written statement. "Instead, because of a disparity in the law that is now recognized as unjust, they remain in prison, separated from their families and their communities, at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars each year."

In August, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a major shift in federal sentencing policies, targeting long mandatory terms.


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Obama to lecture on income inequality --  while the rich get richer under Obama

Jim Hoft is reporting that Barack Obama, the Great Redistributor, is going to lecture the America Wednesday on income inequality, but don’t expect Obama to mention this fact -- the rich got richer under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama -- especially their rich buddies!

[RichGetRicher]

But, while the rich got richer under Obama millions of Americans did not do so well. Poverty is currently at its highest rate since the 1960s.

The Hill reported:

President Obama will cast growing income inequality and a decline in economic mobility as a “fundamental threat to the American dream” during a speech Wednesday in Washington.

The speech will serve as an early preview for next year’s State of the Union address, according to a White House official, who said Obama would focus much of his energy over the next three years on the issue.

“The decisions we make over the next few years will determine whether or not our children will grow up in an America where, if you work hard, you can get ahead,” the official said.
In his last State of the Union address, Obama made several proposals that were intended to help the poor and reduce economic equality, but few have gained any traction.

The president called for hiking the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour, and for providing universal access to prekindergarten education for all 4-year-olds.

But the White House itself has spent most of the year focused on other issues, including immigration reform, gun control and battles with Congress over government funding.

Wednesday’s event will take place in Anacostia, a predominantly African-American section of Washington, D.C., with a high unemployment rate.


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Solar firm linked to Obama donors could be "next Solyndra"

A California-based solar company backed by several Obama supporters has been receiving millions in federal tax credits while losing $322 million since 2008, raising concerns about the company "becoming the next Solyndra."

Among SolarCity Corp.’s biggest investors is Elon Musk -- the high-profile donor and fundraiser who co-founded PayPal and whose companies SpaceX and electric-car company Tesla Motors have received at least $846 million in loans and startup money from the Obama administration.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, warned about SolarCity’s financial standing in a letter Monday to the Treasury Department.

"There is concern that SolarCity might become the next Solyndra -- a company propped on the back of the taxpayers," Sessions wrote. 

The company fired back Tuesday, specifically against the Solyndra comparison.

"The forces which drove Solyndra into bankruptcy -- steeply declining solar panel price -- are precisely what has driven the success of our business, as those declining prices allow more Americans to go solar, and wrest control of their energy supply away from government-regulated monopoly utilities," company spokesman Will Craven told FoxNews.com.

Craven also said the company will soon set the record straight on the Sessions allegations now that a Securities and Exchange Commission’s "quiet period" has ended.

Beyond SolarCity reportedly getting millions in tax credits and cash grants through the 2009 stimulus law, Sessions charges SolarCity might have overestimated the "fair market value" of its products to get higher credits -- or in his words "reap financial benefits at the expense of the American taxpayers."

The Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General confirmed Tuesday an investigation into the matter, roughly 14 months after SolarCity acknowledged in its initial public offering that the inspector general’s office had issued subpoenas "to a number of significant participants in the rooftop solar energy installation industry, including us."

In addition to the inspector general investigation, SolarCity subsidiaries Sequoia Pacific Solar and Eiger Lease Co are challenging the federal government in court for imposing tougher guidelines in calculating the market value of solar-energy systems.

SolarCity officials, including fellow Obama donor and Musk’s cousin Lyndon Rive, acknowledged in the IPO document the continuing need for government support, as alternative-energy companies strive to become competitive with coal, oil and other conventional-energy sources.

"Our business currently depends on the availability of rebates, tax credits and other financial incentives," they wrote. "The expiration, elimination or reduction of these rebates, credits and incentives would adversely impact our business."

Continue reading here . . .


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Obama's second-term ambassador nominees raised more than $16 million for him

Patrick Howley is reporting that Barack Obama's second-term nominees for foreign ambassadorships raised more than $16 million for his presidential campaigns and inaugurations.

Obama has nominated 24 campaign bundlers that have raised at least $16.6 million for his presidential efforts, according to a database created by the Center for Public Integrity.

Eight six-figure Obama bundlers have already been confirmed to key posts including Singapore, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and Italy.

Obama's confirmed ambassador to Belgium, Denise Campbell Bauer, served as 2012 finance chair of Women for Obama and raised more than $750,000 for his campaigns and first inauguration.

Fifteen major Obama bundlers are still awaiting confirmation to ambassadorships, including former Barclays director Mark D. Gilbert, who raised at least $1.2 million for Obama's efforts and is now up for ambassador to New Zealand.

Obama's latest pick for ambassador to Hungary, Colleen Bradley Bell, is a producer on her executive producer husband's soap opera, "The Bold and the Beautiful," and a 2012 campaign bundler to the tune of more than $500,000. Bell -- who was born in Illinois, went to Sweet Briar College in Virginia, studied abroad in Scotland, and lives in Los Angeles -- was in the running for either Hungary or Belgium.

Fellow Hollywood executive James Costos, the vice president of HBO, was recently confirmed as ambassador to Spain after bundling at least $500,000 for Obama's re-election campaign.

The figures cited in this piece refer only to Obama's second-term ambassador nominees, and do not include the Obama bundlers and donors who comprised many of his first-term ambassador nominations.


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