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Executive Dysfunction

President Obama has done next to nothing to build confidence in government.

by James Bennet     •     The Atlantic

Obama defeatedIt’s happened by this point in every modern two-term presidency: If we weren’t sick of the guy to start with, we certainly are by now. What once seemed like roguish charm, or bracing surety, or nuanced intelligence, has curdled into self-indulgence, or arrogance, or passivity. Voters punish the president in the midterms; congressmen investigate him; political journalists, eager to cultivate sources in the coming campaigns, save all their nice adjectives for the presidents-in-waiting, and their aides. [Read more...]

Obama’s Executive Memoranda Highlights Constitutional Crisis

by Jonathan S. Tobin     •     Commentary

obama-legislation executive orderWhen conservatives protested President Obama’s attempt to go around the Constitution and rule by executive orders rather than with the consent of Congress, his defenders had a ready answer. While they insisted that Obama’s fiat granting amnesty to five million illegal immigrants did not exceed his authority, they also countered by saying that the president had actually issued far fewer such executive orders than that of President Bush. But, as USA Today noted last week, focusing only on executive orders while ignoring the far more numerous executive memoranda issued by this administration that have the same effect as law, the press and the public have vastly underestimated the extent of how far he has stretched the boundaries of executive power. If anything, this president’s effort to create a one-man government may have gone farther than we thought. [Read more...]

Judge Kevin Thomas Duffy Blasts Federal Prosecutor For Lying in Court

Judge deploys unusually vivid language: ‘you’re branded as a liar and you’ll remain a liar for the rest of your life’

by Sidney Powell     •     New York Observer

Justice Rule of LawAdd another Article III federal judge to the lengthening list of those fed up with the lying and abuses by our “now ironically named Department of Justice.” Senior US District Judge Kevin Thomas Duffy in New York just lambasted Assistant US Attorney Stanley J. Okula from Preet Bharara’s office for lying to the court and advised that he bring a supervisor with him to court from now on.

The judge was livid, and he began the December 5th hearing with great clarity:

“Mr. Okula, I think I should start with something. On the front hall of the Department of Justice is engraved the whole section of United States against Berger about how the job of the Justice Department is to see that justice is done. Justice is founded in truth. [Read more...]

The Hypocrisy of Liberal Campaign Finance

Shadowy donor club to shield donor names, internal deliberations from public view

by Lachlan Markay     •     Washington Free Beacon

Campaign DonationsA shadowy club of ultra-rich liberal donors assured contributors at a recent closed-door meeting that it will not disclose their involvement if they wish it to remain secret.

The Democracy Alliance says opacity in political funding and the influence of “big money” is corrosive to the democratic process, but the group currently discloses nothing about the hundreds of millions of dollars it steers to leading liberal and Democratic organizations. [Read more...]

ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Have Been Bogus

Editorial Board    •    Investors Business Daily  

ObamaCare Costs Pork

ObamaCare Costs Pork

The lies continue to continue … 

Lying With Statistics:  In April, we doubted that the surprisingly high ObamaCare enrollment numbers could be trusted. Turns out, we were right to be skeptical. The White House had been vastly inflating the figures all along.

This week, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell admitted that her agency had accidentally counted those who’d signed up for stand-alone dental benefits in its health insurance numbers, padding its latest enrollment data by nearly 400,000 — or 6%.

“This mistake was unacceptable,” Burwell said. But don’t worry: The fact that they “quickly corrected the number should give people confidence.”

Never mind that she admitted the “mistake” only after the House Oversight Committee exposed the book-cooking scheme. [Read more...]

Grubbing the American Public on Obamacare

A liberal elitist reveals the deception behind Obama’s health plan

by Jack Kelly    •    Pittsburgh Post Gazette ObamaCare Gruber Lies

Only 36 percent of Americans expressed approval of Democrats in a Gallup poll Nov. 12, the lowest in the 22 years Gallup has been asking that question. Republicans were approved of by 42 percent. In Gallup’s poll 13 months ago, 43 percent had approved of Democrats, just 28 percent of the GOP.

To understand how Democrats could fall so far so fast, consider MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, to whom the Obama administration paid $400,000 to help design Obamacare.

Prof. Gruber thinks he’s very smart, and you aren’t.

“[Obamacare] was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies,” he said during a health care conference at the University of Pennsylvania in October of last year.

“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Mr. Gruber said. “Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass.” [Read more...]

Voter Fraud in 2014?

Progressives and the Justice Department are doing all they can to stop improvements in election integrity.

by Hans Von Spakovsky    •    Wall Street Journal 

Voter Fraud Dead VoteIn the past few months, a former police chief in Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to voter fraud in a town-council election. That fraud had flipped the outcome of a primary election. Former Connecticut legislator Christina Ayala has been indicted on 19 charges of voter fraud, including voting in districts where she didn’t reside. (She hasn’t entered a plea.) A Mississippi grand jury indicted seven individuals for voter fraud in the 2013 Hattiesburg mayoral contest, which featured voting by ineligible felons and impersonation fraud. A woman in Polk County, Tenn., was indicted on a charge of vote-buying—a practice that the local district attorney said had too long “been accepted as part of life” there.

Now come the midterm elections on Nov. 4. What is the likelihood that your vote won’t count? That your vote will, in effect, be canceled or stolen as a consequence of mistakes by election officials or fraudulent votes cast by campaign workers or ineligible voters like felons and noncitizens? [Read more...]

Making Harding Look Good

The Obama administration has tarnished nearly every major federal agency. 

by Victor Davis Hanson    •    National Review

Scandal NewsMany have described the Obama departure from the 70-year-old bipartisan postwar foreign policy of the United States as reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s failed 1977–81 tenure. There is certainly the same messianic sense of self, the same naïveté, and the same boasts of changing the nature of America, as each of these presidents was defining himself as against supposedly unpopular predecessors. But the proper Obama comparison is not Carter, but rather Warren G. Harding. By that I mean not that Obama’s scandals have matched Harding’s, but rather that by any fair standard they have now far exceeded them and done far more lasting damage — and without Obama’s offering achievements commensurate with those that occasionally characterized Harding’s brief, failed presidency.

The lasting legacy of Obama will be that he has largely discredited the idea of big government, of which he was so passionate an advocate. Almost every major agency of the federal government, many of them with a hallowed tradition of bipartisan competence, have now been rendered either dysfunctional or politicized — or both — largely because of politically driven appointments of unqualified people, or ideological agendas that were incompatible with the agency’s mission.

The list of scandals is quite staggering. In aggregate, it makes Harding’s Teapot Dome mess seem minor in comparison. [Read more...]

Passing the Buck on ISIS Failures Fits a Clear and Unmistakable Pattern

isis-militants-iraq terroristby Orange County Register

What’s the saddest statistic of the political season? Here’s one contender: a Google search for the phrase “Obama ISIS buck pass” yields about 478,000 results.

That’s what happens when a president makes comments like the ones Barack Obama made during an interview on “60 Minutes.” There, he haplessly explained that Jim Clapper, director of national intelligence, acknowledged he’d underestimated how quickly ISIS could rise to threaten the Mideast.

True enough – but also misleading, and another unforced error for our clearly beleaguered president. Mr. Obama should have recognized that he had opened himself up to legitimate charges of buck passing.

But instead of facing the music – as John F. Kennedy did in the wake of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 – Mr. Obama all but hid behind his new press secretary, Josh Earnest. [Read more...]

Holder’s Legacy as Presidential Protector

The attorney general is stepping down and leaving a trail of troubling questions behind.

by Peter Roff   •   U.S. News & World ReportHolder Head

Controversial figure U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will be stepping down from his post, it was learned recently, leaving the Obama administration as soon as his replacement can be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Those who cannot see past race – and thus tend toward wanting to inflate Holder’s grade – are praising his tenure in office, lauding the attention he gave issues like civil rights and the manner in which, as NBC’s Chuck Todd suggested shortly after the news broke, managed to stay above politics.

In fact, almost every high-profile issue Holder took on had a political taint, especially his intervention in the civil rights arena where he and his department worked to thwart anti-election fraud reforms and to block reasonable photo ID requirements for voters. [Read more...]

Covering for the IRS

New details on the Administration’s spin and stall strategy.

Wall Street Journal

IRS scandal_lost emails_lois lernerThe IRS targeting of conservative groups has now become a story about the cover-up. More than a year after the scandal became public, the most transparent Administration in history has done everything in its power to spin the story, stymie Congressional investigators and run out the clock.

Take the latest moment of hilarity, er, clarity from the Justice Department, in which a communications aide to Attorney General Eric Holder mistakenly called Republicans on the HouseOversight and Government Reform Committee when he meant to call Democrats. The aide, Brian Fallon, told staffers he was calling to see if they could leak information to friendly reporters and give the Justice Department a chance to comment before the majority got their hands on it. [Read more...]

Why was Lois Lerner’s Blackberry was wiped clean?

by  T. Becket Adams    •   Washington Examiner

IRS scandal_lost emails_lois lernerAs lawmakers return to Washington to continue the search for thousands of missing subpoenaed emails related to the Internal Revenue Service’s alleged targeting of conservative groups, questions abound.

Among the most pressing is the fact that a Blackberry belonging to Lois Lerner, a former official at the center of the scandal, was wiped clean shortly after investigators started asking questions about her alleged role in the targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.

Despite the fact that this revelation first came to light in August, the IRS has yet explain why this was done. [Read more...]

$2.4 million ticket amnesty in NY where speed cameras malfunctioned

by Mary Katharine Ham   •  Hot Air

red_light_camerasImagine that. A bunch of cameras installed to increase safety revenue by catching everyone speeding caught a whole bunch more people than they should have in New York. It’s almost as if it wasn’t about safety first:

Nassau County of New York is forgiving thousands of speeding tickets issued this summer from malfunctioning speed cameras, totaling about $2.4 million in fines.

The Long Island county executive, Edward Mangano, said cameras from Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions near six schools were unreliable and issued tickets even when school was not in session. Traffic speeds are reduced dramatically during school hours. [Read more...]

Judge Demands Answers after IRS Contradicts Sworn Testimony on Lerner’s Scratched Hard Drive

IRS scandal_lost emails_lois lernerby Patrick Howley     •     Daily Caller

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan Thursday ordered the Internal Revenue Service to come up with new answers after IRS employees contradicted sworn testimony about damage to Lois Lerner’s hard drive.

Sullivan ruled that “the IRS is hereby ORDERED to file a sworn Declaration, by an official with the authority to speak under oath for the Agency, by no later than August 22, 2014″ on four issues: the IRS’ attempted recovery of Lerner’s lost emails after her computer allegedly crashed, bar codes that could have been on the hard drive, IRS policies on hard drive destruction, and information about an outside vendor who worked on IRS hard drives.

Recent documents from nonprofit group Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the IRS, which Sullivan is presiding over, showed that IRS technology officials contradicted sworn testimony about damage to Lerner’s hard drive. [Read more...]

Congress Isn’t Alone in Struggling to Obtain Obamacare Records

by Jillian Kay Melchior     •     National Review Online

accountability_corruption_mediaAs news breaks about the Department of Health and Human Services’ missing HealthCare.gov e-mails, it’s pertinent to note how difficult it has been to obtain records in general about Obamacare, as I’ve learned personally over the past many months.

In Nevada, National Review had to sue the state health exchange before we were able to obtain records about how many Obamacare navigators had criminal backgrounds, despite the fact that they were handling consumers’ private information. (As it turned out, at least eight did.) [Read more...]