Archive for the ‘Obama Administraiton and Policy’ Category

PRESIDENT NOBAMA – VICTOR DAVIS HANSON

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

 

NATIONAL REVIEW
President Nobama
BY Victor Davis Hanson     January 16, 2018
Trump is commonsensically undoing, piece by piece, the main components of Obama’s legacy.
Donald Trump continues to baffle. Never Trump Republicans still struggle to square the circle of quietly agreeing so far with most of his policies, as they loudly insist that his record is already nullified by its supposedly odious author. Or surely it soon will be discredited by the next Trumpian outrage. Or his successes belong to congressional and Cabinet members, while his failures are all his own. Rarely do they seriously reflect on what otherwise over the last year might have been the trajectory of a Clinton administration.
Contrary to popular supposition, the Left loathes Trump not just for what he has done. (It is often too consumed with fury to calibrate carefully the particulars of the Trump agenda.) Rather, it despises him mostly for what he superficially represents.
To many progressives and indeed elites of all persuasions, Trump is also the Prince of Anti-culture: mindlessly naïve American boosterism; conspicuous, 1950s-style unapologetic consumption; repetitive and limited vocabulary; fast-food culinary tastes; Queens accent; herky-jerky mannerisms; ostentatious dress; bulging appearance; poorly disguised facial expressions; embracing rather than sneering at middle-class appetites; a lack of subtlety, nuance, and ambiguity.
In short Trump’s very essence wars with everything that long ago was proven to be noble, just, and correct by Vanity Fair, NPR, The New Yorker, Google, the Upper West Side, and The Daily Show. There is not even a smidgeon of a concession that some of Trump’s policies might offer tens of thousands of forgotten inner-city youth good jobs or revitalize a dead and written-off town in the Midwest, or make the petroleum of the war-torn Persian Gulf strategically irrelevant to an oil-rich United States.

(more…)

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VIDEO PRAGER U VS GOOGLE

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

 

As Dennis Prager knows, we’re getting late in the game to overcome The Silence of the Left (TSOTL). Google owns Youtube and here is a Prager University video by a former Google employee that reveals why Youtube is no longer the open site for exchanging ideas; only “some” ideas.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9_o42QaVnA

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THE IRS EVADES ACCOUNTABILITY

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The IRS Evades Accountability—and Its Excuse Is Ridiculous

It claims its rules lack a ‘significant economic impact’ because they’re ‘derived from’ statutes.

By John J. Vecchione and James Valvo     Mr. Vecchione is president and CEO of Cause of Action Institute, where Mr. Valvo is counsel and a senior policy adviser.   January 10, 2018
EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  

Specifically, the White House should demand that the IRS submit all rules to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for review. It should make it known that it will delay the implementation of any new rules until the IRS conducts the requisite economic analysis. And the Senate should demand that President Trump’s nominee for IRS commissioner—who has yet to be named—publicly commit to reforming this practice. Anyone who wants to lead the IRS should promise to produce economic analyses for proposed rules and share that information with the public.

No agency has more influence over every taxpayer than the IRS. It’s time for oversight of that agency to match its unparalleled role in Americans’ lives.

 
 

Every American knows the Internal Revenue Service collects taxes and audits taxpayers. Fewer realize that the agency also issues far-reaching rules that affect the entire economy. Any agency with such vast rule-making power deserves the highest level of scrutiny and accountability. The IRS is in particular need of oversight following the scandals that have engulfed it in recent years.

Yet a new report from the Cause of Action Institute reveals that the IRS has been evading numerous oversight mechanisms, and it refuses to comply with laws requiring it to measure the economic impact of its rules.

Congress has passed several laws, including the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the Congressional Review Act, that require agencies to report on their rules’ economic impact to lawmakers and the public. The president also conducts oversight of agency rules through the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. These good-government measures are meant to ensure unelected bureaucrats can be checked by the public.

Crucially, they are all triggered by an initial determination by the agency of whether its new rule will have a “significant economic impact.” But as our report shows, the IRS has made up a series of exemptions that allow it to avoid basic scrutiny. The agency takes the position that its rules have no economic effect because any impact is attributable to the underlying law that authorized the rule, not the agency’s decision to issue or alter the rule.

The IRS prominently used this excuse in 2016. It had proposed changes to the way it valued interests in closely held businesses for estate- and gift-tax purposes. This rule would have had a dramatic effect on thousands of small businesses and family farms and their inheritors. The affected communities reacted strongly, but the IRS still asserted the rule was only interpretive. It provided no more than the boilerplate statement that any economic effect “is derived from the operation of the statute, or its intended application, and not from the proposed regulations in this notice of proposed rule-making.”

This is pablum. Were it correct, rules from every federal agency would be exempt from oversight, since all agency rules are based in statute. If other agencies adopted this mind-set, it would gut oversight of the regulatory state by the elected branches.

The IRS did submit the rule to the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy for comment on how it would affect small businesses. That office firmly rejected the IRS claim that the rule was exempt from economic analysis. The IRS brushed aside the SBA’s argument, but the Trump Treasury Department halted this ill-advised rule.

Yet the IRS’s brazen assertion of immunity from oversight remains in place. It first bestowed the economic-impact exemption on itself in 1998, after Congress amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act expressly to cover IRS interpretive rules. The IRS Office of Chief Counsel issued a notice claiming that its interpretive rules do not have an economic impact, an outrageous assertion meant to help the agency avoid the new law. The IRS originally stated that only the “revenue impact”—the amount of money collected and transferred to the Treasury—was exempt from analysis. It has since broadened this claim to evade White House review and the Congressional Review Act. The IRS now asserts the exemption for all “effects” from its rules, including macroeconomic impacts, behavioral changes, compliance costs, and record-keeping and reporting burdens.

Criticism of the IRS position goes beyond the SBA. Members of Congress and the Government Accountability Office have also called for reform of this baseless practice. Congress and President Trump should step in to correct this dubious behavior and ensure the IRS is held accountable for its actions.

Specifically, the White House should demand that the IRS submit all rules to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for review. It should make it known that it will delay the implementation of any new rules until the IRS conducts the requisite economic analysis. And the Senate should demand that President Trump’s nominee for IRS commissioner—who has yet to be named—publicly commit to reforming this practice. Anyone who wants to lead the IRS should promise to produce economic analyses for proposed rules and share that information with the public.

No agency has more influence over every taxpayer than the IRS. It’s time for oversight of that agency to match its unparalleled role in Americans’ lives.

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HOW OBAMA MANIPULATED SECRET INTELLIGENCE FOR POLITICAL GAIN

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

 

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

How Obama manipulated sensitive secret intelligence for political gain

Insiders reveal how secret data manipulated for political gain
By Guy Taylor and Dan Boylan
December 21, 2017

They wanted him dead.

For years, a clandestine U.S. intelligence team had tracked a man they knew was high in the leadership of al Qaeda — an operative some believed had a hand in plotting the gruesome 2009 suicide attack in Afghanistan that killed seven CIA officers.

Their pursuit was personal, and by early 2014, according to a source directly involved in the operation, the agency had the target under tight drone surveillance. “We literally had a bead on this guy’s head and just needed authorization from Washington to pull the trigger,” said the source.

Then something unexpected happened. While agents waited for the green light, the al Qaedaoperative’s name, as well as information about the CIA’s classified surveillance and plan to kill him in Pakistan, suddenly appeared in the U.S. press.

Abdullah al-Shami, it turned out, was an American citizen, and President Obama and his national security advisers were torn over whether the benefits of killing him would outweigh the political and civil liberties backlash that was sure to follow.

In interviews with several current and former officials, the al-Shami case was cited as an example of what critics say was the Obama White House’s troublesome tendency to mishandle some of the nation’s most delicate intelligence — especially regarding the Middle East — by leaking classified information in an attempt to sway public opinion on sensitive matters.

By the end of Mr. Obama’s second term, according to sources who spoke anonymously with The Washington Times, the practices of leaking, ignoring and twisting intelligence for political gain were ingrained in how the administration conducted national security policy.

Those criticisms have resurfaced in the debate over whether overall intelligence fumbling by the Obama White House in its final months may have amplified the damage wrought by suspected Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election last year.

On repeated occasions during the Obama era, high-level sources and some lawmakers lamented to The Washington Times, the president’s inner circle ignored classified briefings and twisted intelligence to fit political goals. Long before Donald Trump appeared on the White House campaign scene, many pointed to an incident during the 2012 election cycle as the most dramatic evidence of how that approach affected the handling of national security threats.

PLEASE CLICK ON THE ABOVE LINK TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

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MAKE IRAN GREAT AGAIN – DANIEL HENNINGER

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Make Iran Great Again

Like Barack Obama, Iran’s leaders don’t know how a real economy works.

January 4, 2017  by Daniel Henninger

Iran erupted last Thursday. By Friday, the protests against the government, which began in Mashhad near the Afghan border, had spread to dozens of cities. So when we traveled on Saturday to a movie theater on Manhattan’s Lower East Side to see “Darkest Hour,” Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Winston Churchill, imagine the jarring dislocation when the theater’s previews included a trailer for an admiring documentary of Barack Obama’s foreign-policy making, “The Final Year.”

The preview screen filled with expressions of earnest intent from Mr. Obama, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes and the Iran nuclear deal’s handmaiden, John Kerry. About 100 minutes later, we were watching Churchill shout at his war cabinet that you cannot do deals with dictators. That would have been about the time this weekend that protesters in Iran were shouting “Death to Khamenei !” It’s nice to see the Iranian people have a sense of humor.

Producing the past week’s protests against the Iranian regime was not the goal of the six-party Iran nuclear deal. Back then, the Khamenei-Rouhani regime was represented as America’s partner in a good cause. Now the governments of the U.S., U.K., France and Germany (Russia is a Khamenei ally, and China only supports crackdowns) have to decide whether their Iranian partner is the people in the streets or the government that is shooting them.

In the preview of “The Final Year,” the Obama team members convey confidence in the rightness of everything they did. But as we learned in November 2016, there was one big thing the Obama people never understood: how a real economy works. By real economy, I mean the private economy, not the economy of public spending.

A central element of the nuclear deal was that it would “help” the Iranian people by lifting sanctions and injecting $100 billion of unfrozen assets into Iran’s economy. This was much the same economic theory behind the Obama administration’s 2009 injection of $832 billion into the U.S. economy. Both flopped because both made the real economy essentially a bystander to state guidance.

The Obama $832 billion went up the government’s fireplace flue. The Iranian $100 billion went into ballistic missile production and for Iran’s proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

The moment has arrived for invidious comparisons.

Donald Trump is president because the Obama-Clinton Democrats forgot about hard-pressed voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. The Khamenei-Rouhani regime is under assault because working-class Iranians began this week’s revolt in cities beyond the capital.

Come to think of it, isn’t that disconnect between the people running governments and the people trying to make a living in the real economy the core reason behind the world-wide burst of populism?

It’s the reason France’s working-class voters and young, underemployed college graduates sent Emmanuel Macron and a heretofore nonexistent party into the French presidency. It’s the reason working-class Brits lunged for Brexit. This new global reality—perform or get shoved aside—is the reason Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman imposed reforms.

The Iranians shouting, “Leave Syria, think of us!” are the West Virginia coal miners shouting, “Make America Great Again.” That’s not yahooism. It is anxiety directed at incumbent elites who tell the public that reduced levels of economic growth are the new normal. The world’s populations will not accept that.

Iran—like North Korea—has taken its best and brightest and stuck them inside a mountain to build atomic bombs, leaving the economy in the hands of Brussels-grade technocrats.

Besides calling for higher taxes in its recent budget, even as prices have spiked for basic foodstuff, Hassan Rouhani’s government has pursued import-substitution policies by imposing high tariffs on many imported goods. Needless to say, Iranians can’t get the clothing, appliances and electronics they want.

To combat a massive cellphone-smuggling operation, Iran recently slapped a 5% duty on them atop the 9% value-added tax and required registration with Iran’s telecom user database. Now, millions of smuggled phones will make it harder for the ayatollahs to kill texting among protesters. The bazaar may prove stronger than the theocracy.

A theme now emerging in Western media is that if Europe’s leaders support President Trump’s “aggressive” posture toward Tehran, that will undermine both the sanctified Obama nuclear deal and support for “liberals” in the Rouhani government. This is where we came in, watching Winston Churchill convince a timid British establishment that an outward-moving dictatorship won’t stop at anyone’s border.

The moment has arrived to admit that Iran’s missiles, nuclear technology and armies won’t stay inside its borders until the people getting shot in the streets are recognized and supported by a too-timid world.

(more…)

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HOW THE TRUMP ERA IS CHANGING THE FEDERAL BUREAUCRACY

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

 

THE WASHINGTON POST
How the Trump era is changing the federal bureaucracy
 December 30, 2017

Nearly a year into his takeover of Washington, President Trump has made a significant down payment on his campaign pledge to shrink the federal bureaucracy, a shift long sought by conservatives that could eventually bring the workforce down to levels not seen in decades.

By the end of September, all Cabinet departments except Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs and Interior had fewer permanent staff than when Trump took office in January — with most shedding many hundreds of employees, according to an analysis of federal personnel data by The Washington Post.

The diminishing federal footprint comes after Trump promised in last year’s campaign to “cut so much your head will spin,” and it reverses a boost in hiring under President Barack Obama. The falloff has been driven by an exodus of civil servants, a diminished corps of political appointees and an effective hiring freeze.

Even though Congress did not pass a new budget in his first year, the drastic spending cuts Trump laid out in the spring — which would slash more than 30 percent of funding at some agencies — also has triggered a spending slowdown, according to officials at multiple departments.

The White House is now warning agencies to brace for even deeper cuts in the 2019 budget it will announce early next year, part of an effort to lower the federal deficit to pay for the new tax law, according to officials briefed on the budgets for their agencies. One possible casualty: a pay raise that federal employees historically have received when the economy is humming.

The administration’s effort so far to reshape the workforce of nearly 2 million civil servants that serves as the backbone of the government already has provoked a contentious culture shift.

Federal workers fret that their jobs could be zeroed out amid buyouts and early retirement offers that already have prompted hundreds of their colleagues to leave, according to interviews with three dozen employees across the government. Many chafed as supervisors laid down new rules they said are aimed at holding poor performers and problem workers to account.

hiring freeze technically lifted in the spring has been kept in practice at most agencies, hollowing out many offices. And the slow pace of political appointments has left a number of departments with a leadership vacuum in their upper ranks.

PLEASE CLICK ON THE ABOVE LINK TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

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ABEDIN FORWARDED STATE PASSWORDS TO YAHOO BEFORE IT WAS HACKED BY FOREIGN AGENTS

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

 

THE DAILY CALLER

Abedin Forwarded State Passwords To Yahoo Before It Was Hacked By Foreign Agents

by Luke Rosiak    January 1, 2018

Huma Abedin forwarded sensitive State Department emails, including passwords to government systems, to her personal Yahoo email account before every single Yahoo account was hacked, a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of emails released as part of a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch shows.

Abedin, the top aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, used her insecure personal email provider to conduct sensitive work. This guarantees that an account with high-level correspondence in Clinton’s State Department was impacted by one or more of a series of breaches — at least one of which was perpetrated by a “state-sponsored actor.”

The U.S. later charged Russian intelligence agent Igor Sushchin with hacking 500 million Yahoo email accounts. The initial hack occurred in 2014 and allowed his associates to access accounts into 2015 and 2016 by using forged cookies. Sushchin also worked for the Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital, which paid former President Bill Clinton $500,000 for a June 2010 speech in Moscow.

A separate hack in 2013 compromised three billion accounts across multiple Yahoo properties, and the culprit is still unclear. “All Yahoo user accounts were affected by the August 2013 theft,” the company said in a statement.

Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, regularly forwarded work emails to her personal humamabedin@yahoo.comaddress. “She would use these accounts if her (State) account was down or if she needed to print an email or document. Abedin further explained that it was difficult to print from the DoS system so she routinely forwarded emails to her non-DoS accounts so she could more easily print,” an FBI report says.

Abedin sent passwords for her government laptop to her Yahoo account on Aug. 24, 2009, an email released by the State Department in September 2017 shows.

PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

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CIVIL SERVICE REFORM – 2018 ISSUE FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP

Sunday, December 31st, 2017
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

A Big, Beautiful Trump 2018 Issue

Civil-service reform could get bipartisan support, even in a rough election year.

 

 

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POLITICO – THE SECRET BACKSTORY OF HOW OBAMA LET HEZBOLLAH OFF THE HOOK

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

 

PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook

An ambitious U.S. task force targeting Hezbollah’s billion-dollar criminal enterprise ran headlong into the White House’s desire for a nuclear deal with Iran.

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CLINTON AND HUMA ABEDIN REMOVED FILES FROM STATE DEPARTMENT

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

 

 

Obama State Department Let Clinton And Huma Make Off With Boxes Of ‘Muslim Engagement’ Docs

by  Jack Crowe  Political Reporter   December 14, 2017

The Obama State Department allowed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top aide Huma Abedin to remove call logs, scheduling documents and files described as “Muslim Engagement” from government premises by labeling the records “private,” Judicial Watch has learned.

Judicial Watch obtained records about the document removals in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all forms authorizing the removal of “personal papers and non-record materials,” according to a Thursday press release.

“These new documents show the Obama State Department had a deal with Hillary Clinton to hide her calls logs and schedules, which would be contrary to FOIA and other laws,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “When are the American people going to get an honest investigation of the Clinton crimes?”

The documents, which are not classified but carry a special notation that they are not to be made public under normal FOIA procedure, include a list of Clinton’s personal and official calls. The special notation was included as part of an addendum signed by Clarence N. Finney Jr., then-director of the Office of Correspondence and Records, who reviewed the records.

The newly obtained records also show that Abedin was authorized to remove five boxes of “physical files” that include documents described as “Muslim Engagement.”

They also indicate that Clinton removed a physical file of “the log of the Secretary’s gifts with pictures of gifts,” which could potentially expose Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative connections.

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