New burdensome regulation issued every 3 days
By Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The federal government has imposed a new major regulation every three days since President Barack Obama took office, as the administration has shattered the record for implementing regulations costing the economy $100 million or more.
The Obama administration has now issued 600 major regulations, the center-right policy institute the American Action Forum noted in a recent report.
“One year ago, the American Action Forum (AAF) celebrated a regulatory milestone, of sorts: 500 major regulations,” wrote Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy. “A major regulation has an economic impact of $100 million or more and can significantly affect prices for consumers.” Continue reading
According to Pew Research Center, 92 percent of teens use the Internet every day.
by Sean Davis • The Federalist
During his speech at the memorial service in Dallas for murdered police officers, President Barack Obama lamented that his words have little power to effect change, then proceeded to peddle blatant, easily refutable lies about guns.
“I’ve seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change,” Obama said. “I’ve seen how inadequate my own words have been.”
One reason for that inadequacy may be that he says things he knows aren’t true. Over the weekend, Obama said, “I think it’s very hard to untangle the motives of this shooter.” Given that the shooter himself told police that he “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” there doesn’t seem to be much left to untangle. Continue reading
Obama trumpets an agreement that Tehran violates at every turn.
By Bret Stephens • Wall Street Journal
What diplomats call the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—known to the rest of us as the Disastrous Iran Deal—was agreed in Vienna a year ago this week. Now comes a status update, courtesy of our friends at the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, or BfV.
In its fascinating 2015 annual report, published late last month, the German domestic intelligence service reports a “particularly strong increase” in the number of Salafists, describes the reach of Russian and Chinese espionage efforts in Germany, and notes a growing number of right-wing extremists.
Then there’s this:
“The illegal proliferation-sensitive procurement activities [by Iran] in Germany registered by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution persisted in 2015 at what is, even by international standards, a quantitatively high level. This holds true in particular with regard to items which can be used in the field of nuclear technology.”
The report also notes “a further increase in the already considerable procurement efforts in connection with Iran’s ambitious missile technology program which could among other things potentially serve to deliver nuclear weapons. Against this backdrop it is safe to expect that Iran will continue its intensive procurement activities in Germany using clandestine methods to achieve its objectives.”
The BfV report arrived days before Germany arrested a Pakistani national, identified as Syed Mustufa H., accused of spying for Iran. It also corroborates another German report, this one from the intelligence service of North Rhine-Westphalia, that Iran’s nuclear procurement efforts have increased dramatically in recent years, from 48 known attempts in 2010 to 141 in 2015. Seven other German states have reported similar Iranian procurement efforts. This violates Iran’s explicit commitment to go through an official “procurement channel” to purchase nuclear- and missile-related materials.
All this was enough to prompt Angela Merkel to warn the Bundestag last week that Iran “continued to develop its rocket program in conflict with relevant provisions of the U.N. Security Council.” Don’t expect German sanctions, but at least the chancellor is living in the reality zone.
As for the Obama administration, not so much. For the past year it has developed a narrative—spoon-fed to the reporters and editorial writers Ben Rhodes publicly mocks as dopes and dupes—that Iran has met all its obligations under the deal, and now deserves extra cookies in the form of access to U.S. dollars, Boeing jets, U.S. purchases of Iranian heavy water (thereby subsidizing its nuclear program), and other concessions the administration last year promised Congress it would never grant.
“We still have sanctions on Iran for its violations of human rights, for its support for terrorism, and for its ballistic-missile program, and we will continue to enforce those sanctions vigorously,” Mr. Obama said in January. Whatever.
The administration is now weighing whether to support Iran’s membership in the World Trade Organization. That would neutralize a future president’s ability to impose sanctions on Iran, since WTO rules would allow Tehran to sue Washington for interfering with trade. The administration has also pushed the Financial Action Task Force, an international body that enforces anti-money-laundering standards, to ease pressure on Iran, which FATF did last month by suspending some restrictions for the next year.
And then there’s the Boeing deal to sell $17.6 billion worth of jets to Iran, which congressional Republicans led by Illinois’s Pete Roskam are trying to stop. Iran uses its civilian fleet to ferry weapons and fighters to its terrorist clients in Syria and Lebanon.
“The administration is trying to lock in the Iran deal and prevent a future president from doing anything, including pushing back on Iran’s malign behavior,” says the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Mark Dubowitz, who knows more about Iran sanctions than anyone in Washington. “Instead of curbing Iran’s worst behavior, the administration effectively facilitates it.”
One last detail: In June, the Journal’s Jay Solomon reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency had discovered “traces of man-made uranium” at Iran’s military facility at Parchin. The agency reported this finding in a footnote to a report in December, but the administration made no comment then and now dismisses it as old news. The IAEA is no longer allowed to inspect Parchin, or any other military installation, under the deal.
So let’s recap. Mr. Obama says Iran is honoring the nuclear deal, but German intelligence tells us Tehran is violating it more aggressively than ever. He promised “snapback” sanctions in the event of such violations, but the U.S. is operating as Iran’s trade-promotion agent. He promised “unprecedented” inspections, but we’re not permitted to inspect sites where uranium was found. He promised an eight-year ban on Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles, but Tehran violated that ban immediately and repeatedly with only mild pushback from the West. He promised that the nuclear deal was not about “normalizing” relations with a rogue regime. But he wants it in the WTO.
Is Mr. Obama rationalizing a failed agreement or did he mean to mislead the American public? Either way, truth is catching up with the Iran deal.
A rise in terrorist attacks is further evidence that the global appeal of ISIS-inspired jihad is not dwindling.
By M.G. Oprea • The Federalist
It seems every couple of days we hear about another ISIS-linked terrorist attack. The global appeal of the radical Islamist group is on the ascendant as it is continually able to inspire young Muslim men to wreak havoc in its name, from Orlando to Istanbul. Rather than a sign of the success of the U.S.-led assault on ISIS’ territorial claims, the growing frequency of terrorist attacks are, in part, a product of our own negligence.
Last Tuesday, three gunmen wearing suicide vests attacked the international terminal at Turkey’s Atatürk airport in Istanbul, killing 45 and injuring more than 200. Although ISIS hasn’t yet claimed responsibility, Turkish officials told the United States the organizer of the attack was a former commander of an Islamic State battalion in Syria.
On Sunday, Iraq suffered its deadliest attack since 2003, when ISIS attacked a busy neighborhood of Baghdad with a truck bomb that caused a massive fire, killing more than 215 people. On Friday, five gunmen killed 22 hostages in an attack on a café in an affluent neighborhood in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for which ISIS claimed responsibility. Continue reading
Claims Obama admin misled Congress about purchase of Iranian nuclear material
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Congress is seeking legal remedies to block further concessions by the Obama administration to Iran, according to a leading member of the House Intelligence Committee, who told the Free Beacon that the administration has been systemically misleading Congress about the nature and scope of its giveaways to Iran.
Obama administration officials confirmed overnight that an $8.6 million deal to purchase nuclear material from Iran was functionally finalized in late April. The administration had in recent months refused to answer questions about the payment from lawmakers and journalists, claiming that the deal had not yet been finalized.
The revelation triggered condemnation from leading members of Congress as well as top nuclear experts, who linked the administration’s contradictory statements to efforts by U.S. officials to quietly promote Iran as a legitimate nuclear industry player and economic power. Continue reading
Report: The Obama administration misled the public and obstructed investigations into Benghazi.
By Mollie Hemingway • The Federalist
Here are the five big takeaways from the U.S. House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, Libya, gleaned from a summary report by Reps. Jim Jordan, R-OH, and Mike Pompeo, R-KS.
1. Administration Misled Public Immediately and Continually
Even though U.S. officials — including Hillary Clinton — knew immediately that the siege in Benghazi was a highly coordinated terror attack, they chose to mislead the public with statements about spontaneous protests caused by a YouTube video. Continue reading
By Eric Peterson • The Federalist
Last month, when President Obama’s Department of Labor released its long-awaited “overtime rule,” the mainstream media headlines were predictable: “Obama administration announces final overtime rule boosting pay for millions,” said the Los Angeles Times. “New overtime rules a boon for middle class workers,” added Newsweek. With claims from the Obama camp that the new mandate will boost pay by $12 billion over the next decade, the majority of the coverage has been overwhelmingly positive.
But here are a few headlines we might have seen if media outlets made an honest assessment of the rule: “Overtime rule to cause more than 4,000 cleft lip surgeries to not be performed for children in need”; “At-risk youth could see fewer programs because of costly DOL rule”; “Domestic abuse nonprofit faces cuts because of Obama’s overtime rule.”
Those may not have been headlines atop major newspapers, but they are real concerns nonprofit organizations submitted to the Department of Labor while the overtime rule was undergoing consideration over the past year. Continue reading
Experts: Obama admin going above and beyond nuke deal to aid Iran
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
The Obama administration is taking steps to aid and please Iran far beyond U.S. commitments under last summer’s nuclear accord, according to experts, who warned Tuesday during testimony on Capitol Hill that the White House is becoming “dangerously close to becoming Iran’s trade promotion and business development authority.”
The Obama administration’s efforts to boost Iran’s economy and resurrect its financial sector are not required under the comprehensive nuclear agreement, yet the White House is undertaking this role to soothe relations with the Islamic Republic, nuclear experts told the Senate Banking Committee.
Iran continues to threaten to walk away from the nuclear deal unless the U.S. administration agrees to further concessions beyond the deal, sparking accusations that Iran is effectively “blackmailing” the White House, according to sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon. Continue reading
A federal judge slams U.S. lawyers for deceiving the courts on immigrant deportations.
The constitutional challenge to President Obama’s executive action on immigration keeps getting more remarkable. A federal judge has now exposed how the Justice Department systematically deceived lower courts about the Administration’s conduct, and he has imposed unprecedented legal measures to attempt to sterilize this ethics rot.
On Thursday District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas found that Obama Administration lawyers committed misconduct that he called “intentional, serious and material.” In 2015 he issued an injunction—now in front of the Supreme Court—blocking Mr. Obama’s 2014 order that rewrote immigration law to award legal status and federal and state benefits to nearly five million aliens.
When 26 states sued to block the order in December 2014, Justice repeatedly assured Judge Hanen that the Department of Homeland Security would not start processing applications until February 2015 at the earliest. Two weeks after the injunction came down, in March, Justice was forced to admit that DHS had already granted or renewed more than 100,000 permits. Continue reading
Says administration usurped Congress’s power of the purse
By Tom Howell Jr. • The Washington Times
A federal judge dealt President Obama and his health care law a major blow Thursday, ruling in favor of House Republicans who said the administration broke the law and trod on Congress’ fundamental powers by paying Obamacare insurers without permission from Capitol Hill.
An appeal is certain, but should U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer’s ruling be upheld, it could spark the economic “death spiral” Republicans have predicted and Democrats feared would doom the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
But the ruling has implications far beyond Obamacare, signaling that federal courts may begin to play a more active role in reeling in executive powers that many legal experts say have grown far beyond what the country’s founders intended. Continue reading
By T. Becket Adams • Washington Examiner
Charlie Rose and a trio of former Obama speechwriters laughed it up this week at the mention of the president’s infamous promise that that under the Affordable Care Act, “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.”
The moment occurred during the Monday edition of “Charlie Rose: The Week,” as the host and former speechwriters Jon Lovett, Jon Favreau and David Litt discussed the president’s writing abilities and his gift for oration.
Lovett mentioned that he was most proud of the president’s more serious speeches on the economy and healthcare, and that’s when Favreau ribbed him for the “you can keep your plan” line.
“My point is, do you have equal impact on serious speeches? Because it’s about style, use of language, etc.?” Rose asked. Continue reading
President Obama—with the help of an equally arrogant 38-year-old national security fabulist, Ben Rhodes—remade the Middle East to empower America’s most hated enemy.
By David Reaboi • The Federalist
There are few things in the world less popular in the United States than the Islamic Republic of Iran. As the then-new, optimistic promise of the Obama presidency beckoned in 2008, Gallup found that overall opinion of Iran in this country was 8 percent favorable and a dramatic 88 percent unfavorable. These numbers have been remarkably consistent over time; there’s no better evidence that, in the eyes of the American people, Iran is our enemy.
By 2009, the American people were well aware of the anti-American and anti-Semitic ranting of Iran’s then-president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and were worried about the Islamic Republic’s development of nuclear weapons and clear threats to use them. Even without Iran’s direction and sponsorship of militias killing of thousands of American soldiers in Iraq, the genocidal anti-Israel pronouncements of its leadership, death sentence on novelist Salman Rushdie, or efforts to advance the worldwide Islamic revolution on which the regime is based, the American people have not forgotten the 30 years of enmity since Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution.
However, even as the American people remained rightly skeptical of Iran in the last year of President Obama’s first term, the Obama White House had begun secret talks with the Ahmadinejad regime, which would result in the world’s acquiescence to Iran’s nuclear program. Continue reading
Commissioners were instructed not to reveal $5 million fine until day after controversial Lifeline expansion vote
by Lachlan Markay • Washington Free Beacon
Federal regulators were instructed to keep a massive fraud investigation under wraps until a day after a controversial vote to expand a program that was allegedly used to bilk taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars, one those regulators claims.
The Federal Communications Commission on Friday announced that it would seek $51 million in damages from a cell phone company that allegedly defrauded the federal Lifeline program of nearly $10 million.
The commission’s five members unanimously backed the Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL), but Republican commissioner Ajit Pai parted from his colleagues in a partial dissent. According to Pai, he and other commissioners were told not to reveal the details of its investigation until April 1, a day after the FCC voted to expand the Lifeline program. Continue reading
Our new motto: Strength Through Moral Equivalence
By David Harsanyi • The Federalist
When John Kerry toured the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Museum this week before meeting foreign ministers at the G-7 Summit, Reuters reports that he had witnessed “haunting displays [of] photographs of badly burned victims, the tattered and stained clothes they wore and statues depicting them with flesh melting from their limbs.”
“It is a stunning display. It is a gut-wrenching display,” explained Kerry. “It is a reminder of the depth of the obligation every one of us in public life carries … to create and pursue a world free from nuclear weapons.”
Iran exempted, of course. Continue reading
by Michael Bastasch • The Daily Caller
California regulators may force a massive solar thermal power plant in the Mojave Desert to shut down after years of under-producing electricity — not to mention the plant was blinding pilots flying over the area and incinerating birds.
The Ivanpah solar plant could be shut down if state regulators don’t give it more time to meet electricity production promises it made as part of its power purchase agreements with utilities, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Ivanpah, which got a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the Obama administration, only produced a fraction of the power state regulators expected it would. The plant only generated 45 percent of expected power in 2014 and only 68 percent in 2015, according to government data. Continue reading