Darrell Issa’s leading role in the IRS investigation may have come to a close — he lost his chairmanship of the House Oversight Committee to term limits — but there is plenty of work left for his successor, Jason Chaffetz of Utah. None of these criminals has been punished; the maddening fact is that Lois Lerner is enjoying a six-figure pension at the expense of the very taxpayers against whom she conducted a corrupt political jihad. And even if that happy day should come when Lerner et al. are given one-way bus tickets to Florence, Colo., or some other suitable destination, Chaffetz and his colleagues still would have a tremendous amount of work to do; if Issa’s time has taught us anything, it is that the federal agencies are in thrall to a culture of criminality, and that the most significant crime in the agencies’ repertoire is the obstruction of federal investigations.
Earlier this year, 47 inspectors general — the officials charged with fighting corruption, waste, and wrongdoing in federal agencies — sent a letter to Issa’s committee complaining that organizations ranging from the EPA to the Justice Department were impeding their investigations by withholding information — despite the fact that federal law specifically forbids withholding that information. These are not a bunch of Republican operatives trying to score a few political points: Those 47 inspectors general comprise more than half of all such officials, and many who signed the letter were appointed by President Barack Obama. Their complaint is that the federal agencies treat them more or less like they do . . . members of Congress: thwarting them, withholding documents, obstruction investigations.
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Remember when Barack Obama promised his administration would be the most transparent presidency in American history? Yes, he really said that. Do you think he has lived up to that promise? Let’s do a little math and see. The IRS investigates conservatives, the EPA tries to implement rules to garnish your wages, the entire administration contrived to hide what happened in Benghazi, Obama himself implemented the DREAM Act via Executive Order, the list could go on and on. Over the past five years, we have seen countless scandals come out of the most transparent administration in American history. They even manipulated the government shutdown to keep American veterans from visiting the memorials to the wars they fought and the lives that were lost.
Through all of this, the Obama administration is maintaining its claim as the most transparent administration in American history. On the surface, one would think they would give up that fallacy, declaring it to be a lost cause, moving on to more winnable causes. On the other hand, if you have paid attention to what has happened for the past five years, you will not be surprised that they are continuing the mantra of transparency, even though it has been shredded into tatters.
Townhall – President Obama is “absolutely” the most transparent president in history, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Sunday after the White House received a letter from signed by a dozen top journalists’ groups complaining about the administration’s policies toward the media.
“There are a number of steps that we’ve taken to give people greater insight into what’s happening at the White House,” Earnest said in an interview with CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
My friends, that is one of the most blatant lies this administration has tried to push on the American people. They act as if they expect us all to believe it, with nothing to wash it down as it gets stuck in our throats. Excuse me for being so blunt, but their claim of transparency, especially in the face of so much proof to the contrary, is a crock of foolishness. Unfortunately, far too many Americans will continue to believe the lies they are being fed.
I have been criticized before because of my lack of reverence for President Obama. I have been told I shouldn’t be making fun of him so much. The photos I find to use in my posts are too much for some people. To all of that, I have this to say. I either have to poke fun to relieve the pressure, or I will have to scream. And seriously, the fact that the Obama administration is still pushing the mantra of transparency, after so much muddy water has passed under their bridge, is completely and totally laughable.
The IRS attorneys are certainly earning their over-priced fees because they are due in court again in front of another federal judge on July 11th.
They will have to explain to U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton why the IRS shouldn’t be required to let an outside expert evaluate whether emails on the computer hard drives of former IRS official Lois Lerner and six colleagues really are lost forever, as the agency recently told Congress.
Judge Walton is responding to a motion filed by True the Vote, the initiative started by Catherine Engelbrecht. I’m sure we all remember her testimony before Congress.
I especially love the part where she says:
“Know this: My experience at the hands of this government in the last five years have made me more determined ever than before to stand before you and to all of America and say I will not retreat, I will not surrender, I will not be intimidated and I will not ask for permission to exercise my Constitutional Rights.”
You gotta love the moxie that this American Patriot has!
Responding to a motion filed Monday by True the Vote, a Houston-based conservative nonprofit at the center of IRS targeting during the 2010 and 2012 campaigns, Walton issued an order Tuesday to hear arguments next week.
The IRS recently told Congress that a mysterious crash of the hard drives last year irretrievably destroyed nearly two years of emails to and from Lerner and the others to and from people in other federal agencies, including the White House.
But True the Vote wants a digital forensics expert from outside the IRS to assess the evidence.
“Even if the ill-timed hard drive ‘crash’ was truly an accident, and even if the IRS genuinely believes that the emails are ‘unrecoverable,’ the circumstances of the spoliation at issue cry out for a second opinion,” True the Vote’s attorneys told Walton in the motion filed late Monday.
“It may well prove to be the case that a computer forensics expert could recover evidence that the IRS has been unable to retrieve.
“At the very least, such an expert could preserve whatever evidence has not already been wiped clean from the IRS’s computers along with whatever is stored on the Individual Defendants’ home computers, cell phones, and other PDAs.”
Looks to me like they pissed off the wrong American this time!
“I will also hold myself as President to a new standard of openness. Going forward, anytime the American people want to know something that I or a former President wants to withhold, we will have to consult with the Attorney General and the White House Counsel, whose business it is to ensure compliance with the rule of law. Information will not be withheld just because I say so. It will be withheld because a separate authority believes my request is well grounded in the Constitution.
Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.” – Barack Obama in remarks welcoming Senior Staff & Cabinet Secretaries to the White House, January 21, 2009.
Oh how the times have changed.
In 2009 President Obama vowed to be open, honest and transparent with the American people.
In 2014? Eh, not so much.
How ObamaCare’s Lack of Transparency Costs Taxpayers
How does the absence of transparency in government cost taxpayers’ money?
That question arises today because of a news article in the New York Times, which reports that up to two million of the individuals who enrolled for health insurance coverage through the federal government’s or their state’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) “marketplace” are in for a very rude surprise when they file their income tax returns in April 2015.
It seems that by not requiring proof of income, millions of folks who did sign up for ObamaCare through the government run exchanges are going to be on the hook, once the tax bill is due because they may not qualify for some or all of the health care subsidies they received.
The Obama administration is contacting hundreds of thousands of people with subsidized health insurance to resolve questions about their eligibility, as consumer advocates express concern that many will be required to repay some or all of the subsidies.
Of the eight million people who signed up for private health plans through insurance exchanges under the new health care law, two million reported personal information that differed from data in government records, according to federal officials and Serco, the company hired to resolve such inconsistencies.
The government is asking consumers for additional documents to verify their income, citizenship, immigration status and Social Security numbers, as well as any health coverage that they may have from employers. People who do not provide the information risk losing their subsidized coverage and may have to repay subsidies next April.
Now the Obama administration could have avoided all this by using that transparency that the President touted way back in 2009.
The sad part of all this is that if the Obama administration and authors of the PPACA (popularly known as “Obamacare”) had been willing to be honest with consumers and transparent about the true cost of health insurance on the ACA exchanges, all the tax liability risks for these consumers and the potential loss of insurance coverage could have been avoided.
A much more effective approach would have been to only indicate the full cost of the health insurance options available to Obamacare consumers, who would be fully responsible for paying the full cost of the policies they purchase. Since the subsidies for Obamacare are provided in the form of an income tax credit, subsidy-eligible consumers could then have lowered the income tax withholding on their paychecks to account for the tax credit.
Not only would this method have made more sense, been more practical, been actually and factually transparent, it also would have kept more people from getting kicked off of their health care plans.
The advantage of this approach for these consumers is that they would not now be at risk of losing their health insurance coverage. They might still have an issue with the size of the tax credit, but they could avoid losing their health insurance.
This approach would also have largely eliminated the need to even have a Healthcare.gov and state government-run “marketplaces”.
But no. That would have meant providing full transparency into the full cost of the subsidy tax credit-eligible health insurance coverage available on the government-run “marketplaces”, which was the last thing that either President Obama or the authors of the PPACA wanted given its opportunities for graft.
During her Senate confirmation hearings, then nominee for head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy sang a song of cooperation and transparency that evidently fooled enough Republicans, and she ended up being confirmed.
Senator David Vitter (R-LA): On one of his first days in office, the President signed a memorandum entitled, “Transparency and Open Government” in which he committed to create “an unprecedented level” of openess and transparency. The President correctly stated “transparency promotes accountability.” Given the President’s commitment, will you promise today to release to the American public all of the underlying reserch data supporting the PM and ozone benefit studies that your office has used to support such costly regulations?EPA Cheif Nominee, Gina McCarthy: [The] EPA is committed to transparency with regard to the scientific basis of agency decision making. In setting the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and in assessing health benefits anticipated from air pollution regulations, EPA relies on the scientific studies that are published in the peer reviewed literature. EPA provides the information used ni regularty decisions, including the epidemiological studies, in the publicly available docket accompanying each rule making.
However, like so many in the Obama administration, when the rubber meets the road, transparency takes a back seat, or gets kicked out of the car entirely. EPA Chief McCarthy has now changed her tune from cooperation to obstruction.
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy has issued a warning to Republicans who continue to question the integrity of the agency’s scientific data: we’re coming for you.
McCarthy told an audience at the National Academy of Sciences on Monday morning the agency will go after a “small but vocal group of critics” who are arguing the EPA is using “secret science” to push costly clean air regulations.
“Those critics conjure up claims of EPA secret science — but it’s not really about EPA science or secrets. It’s about challenging the credibility of world renowned scientists and institutions like Harvard University and the American Cancer Society,” McCarthy said, according to Politico.
Once again folks, the science is settled, the debate is over. In the Obama world, science doesn’t question and pursue knowledge. No. In the Obama world, science dictates and obfuscates.
“It’s about claiming that research is secret if researchers protect confidential personal health data from those who are not qualified to analyze it — and won’t agree to protect it,” she added. “If EPA is being accused of secret science because we rely on real scientists to conduct research, and independent scientists to peer review it, and scientists who’ve spent a lifetime studying the science to reproduce it — then so be it.”
But Senate Republicans aren’t happy about this and they seem to be willing to tacked the EPA head on.
House Republicans have backed a bill that would block the EPA from crafting regulations based on “secret” data. Republicans argue that such data was used to craft onerous regulations, like one promulgated in late 2012 to reduce soot levels.
That soot rule is supposed to yield $4 billion to $9 billion in benefits per year, while costing from $50 million to $350 million, but the data backing that claim up is not publicly available.
“For far too long, the EPA has approved regulations that have placed a crippling financial burden on economic growth in this country with no public evidence to justify their actions,” said Arizona Republican Rep. David Schweikert, who introduced the bill.
“Virtually every regulation proposed by the Obama administration has been justified by nontransparent data and unverifiable claims,” said Smith, who cosponsored the bill. “The American people foot the bill for EPA’s costly regulations, and they have a right to see the underlying science. Costly environmental regulations should be based on publicly available data so that independent scientists can verify the EPA’s claims.”
Only time will tell whether the Senate GOP is all bark or if it has any bite to it.
Apparently, the most transparent administration ever is using secret email accounts to avoid transparency. Just like a mobbed up business would keep two sets of books-one official one, and one real one, the government seems to be using secret email addresses. After all if someone did a Freedom of Information Act request, or Congress sent subpena, the recipient would only receive a sanitized version of what was really going on. Conservative Daily News has the information…
Yesterday, the House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee released a statement in which they announced their investigation into EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s use of an email alias and questionable tactics by other Administration departments to prevent disclosure under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
Recent reports claimed that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used an alias email address under the name “Richard Windsor” to conduct official Government business. This reported incident follows similarly secretive and highly questionable methods of communication by senior officials at science agencies within the White House, Department of Commerce (DOC), and Department of Energy (DOE).
Conducting official government business using private accounts is in direct contradiction to Federal law. The only purpose such actions could have is to prevent the tracking and archiving of email traffic that the administration does not want citizens or the press to uncover when they issue requests for email relating to topics.
There is a reason that Federal law prohibits government emp0loyess from hiding their communications. The intent is for the communication to be accessible, and responsive to the people, as well as their representatives. Apparently, the Obama administration believes that they must hide communications from private eyes. Of course, the media won’t cover it.
I thought that Occupy Wall Street was supposed to be open and transparent? Well, not so much would be the answer there. We’ve covered before that Occupods in multiple locations have blocked cameras, or even attacked those recording their activities. Here is one of those videos that we covered last year…
Tim Pool, a mini-celebrity for giving OWS the Walter Cronkite treatment through his nonstop web-based, TimCast live video stream, was involved in some kind of scuffle at around 9:30 p.m. Sunday night — there is, of course, video evidence. On other occasions, marchers have been seen harassing him and yelling for him to turn off his camera. And there are ominous statements directed at him online, like this one: “I suggest you stick by his side because unfortunately he’s probably going to need protection.”
For his part, Pool doesn’t mince words about his predicament.
“I probably will get severely injured in these next coming months,” he said. “…I pretty much expect to wind up in the hospital. The threats I’m hearing, with words like ‘protection’ in them, sound awfully Mafioso.”
Pool has been called a snitch who has helped police identify protesters for arrest. But he says transparency is one of the primary goals of Occupy Wall Street and he plans to keep his camera on, no matter what it reveals — even events that might be counterproductive to the protesters’ cause.
As we have discussed previously, any totalitarian, or criminal organization is understandably squeamish about having their activities recorded. The linked article indicates that in the early days of the protest, Pool was treated like a rock star for his publicity. Now that OWS is showing their true colors as a criminal/revolutionary/terrorist organization, that level of transparency is no longer desired. Real footage points out the lie that OWS is a peaceful movement that only wants econominc justice. And, since either totalitarian or criminal organizations seek to strictly control the flow of information, in order to hide uncomfortable truths, they will continue to attack and silence those that record their activities. The truth is their enemy, transparency is a threat, and they will use force to hide the first, and stop the second.
Again, this shows OWS as a microcosm of the the future Marxist state that they would force upon all of us. “Everything is OK,” and they will permit no level of truth to prove that otherwise.
When I look at Washington these days, I see desperation all around. The Republicans are desperately trying to find ways to stop ObamaCare, and attempting to avoid the RINO tag. The Democrats are desperately rushing ahead full blast to force their agenda though, and lying all the way. Is it because they know their days are numbered?
Obviously, there are several different factors that lead me to make these assertions:
Senator Dodd, and some other Dems are “retiring.” My take is that the party, or the White House, are pressuring these people to get out of the way. Dodd’s poll numbers are so low, following directly behind his ethical standards, that he is a liability to the party. Essentially, Dodd (D- Countrywide), is so damaged, he could loose an election to Stalin (Actually, would his state PREFER a Stalin??). He’s a long term incumbent, so I can only imagine the offer he was made for stepping down. Let’s face it; long-term politicians seem to believe that they are entitled to their seats, so the offer made must have been sweet indeed. They simply don’t get up and quit unless there is something big going on behind the scenes. In the end, the Democrats can run another candidate who, they hope, is not tainted by the current goings on in DC.
The Dems are engaging in the “ping-pong” strategy to reconcile the health care bills. This is happening behind closed doors, without bipartisan input (one promise broken). Also broken, is the promise by the POTUS to televise all the debates on CSPAN.
So, the majority is basically crafting legislation behind locked doors. The minority party and you? Well, neither apparently matters very much. Also, they simply don’t want you to know what is in the bill (I’ll get to that in a bit).
Speaking of the CSPAN promise, it’s been broken during the entire process. However, there are two things occurring right now that make this even more relevant. One is that CSPAN has formally requested permission to broadcast the closed door debates by the Dems, and the other, and perhaps the most shocking, or damning one, is that even the leftist media is challenging the White House as to why the POTUS has ignored his promise to air the debates on CSPAN. The responses of Gibbs to this have been tragically hilarious.
Also, Nancy Pelosi and other Dem leaders have chimed in, suggesting that the entire process has been completely transparent.
BTW, expect some people in the media or at CSPAN to be punished for their impudence.
So, why try to rush all this stuff through? I think the answer is simple. They have to rely on crisis and deception to get their agenda through. After 3200 was lambasted during the summer’s Town Hall meetings, the Senate took the tactic of simply negotiating their entire bill behind closed (locked) doors, not letting Republicans, let alone cameras, into the debate. That kept anyone from knowing what was in the bill until the last minute (Yet another broken promise). That way, the Republicans, the alternative media, or we bloggers had no time to go through the entire thing, while still having the time to spread the word about what was in it. Consider it legislation by coup de main, if you will.
That is part of the overall rush for their agenda. They had to pass the Porkulus immediately. They had to pass Cap and Trade immediately (Thankfully, it only it passed the house). Now, they have to pass Health Care immediately. Not only do they not want a full debate, which would expose the public to their agenda – they also know that these policies will cause so much pain, that they will lose in 2010. Since the closest thing to immortality is a government program, they think they can pass this stuff, and even if they lose, no one will be strong enough to get rid of their programs. So, perhaps they are political kamikazes. They will pass their garbage, and even if they lose, they will view their mission as accomplished.
Now, for the Republicans: Michael Steele has talked a good game, but faith in the party still remains quite low. While the party has been resisting most all of Obama’s initiatives, I think much of the public still has a bad taste after the GOP’s last attempt at governing. Let’s face facts; it’s simply easier to play on defense. The real question is, what will they do if they’re put back into the majority? Will they listen to us, and actually reduce the size and scope of government? That’s the question that the party needs to answer. They need a unified and coherent agenda, and they need to beat the drum on it. We’ll be watching.
So, here we are. Just like everyone else, I’ll be watching to see how all of this unfolds. The theatrical qualities of the denials and deceptions alone are worth the price of admission.
I am from the “Show Me” state Missouri. We are known for needing to see the proof and as such we often say show me. A few years ago we elected a dead man to the Senate and I thought I had seen it all. Sure he was well love but when Mel Carnahan died in a plane crash Missourians voted emotionally to re-elect him. His wife was appointed in his stead and I thought I had seen it all. What I have seen on the American political scene in this past year makes electing Mel look sane.
If it were possible to summarize the past year it would take more time than either of us has but I can hit the highlights.
1. We elected a first-term Senator with no executive experience and a sketchy if not abominable past to the highest office in the land. He won’t allow any of his college transcripts be seen, albeit customary, and I know in my heart it is because his class schedule looked like a who’s who in statist philosophy and circumventing the Constitution.
2. We were promised a more transparent government and White House and if anything there is less transparency to everything Congress and the Administration does. Even when the White House release information it is done on their terms and to their drudges.
3. We were promised no more business as usual with pork-barrel projects and wasteful spending only to see:
• $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient.
• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film.
• $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program.
• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship).
• $448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters.
• $248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters.
• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.
• $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD’s.
• $1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs.
• $125 million for the Washington sewer system.
• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities.
• $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion.
• $75 million for “smoking cessation activities.”
• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges.
• $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI.
• $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction.
• $500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River.
• $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas.
• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into “green” buildings.
• $500 million for state and local fire stations.
• $650 million for wildland fire management on forest service lands.
• $1.2 billion for “youth activities,” including youth summer job programs.
• $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service.
• $412 million for CDC buildings and property.
• $500 million for building and repairing National Institutes of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland.
• $160 million for “paid volunteers” at the Corporation for National and Community Service.
• $5.5 million for “energy efficiency initiatives” at the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.
• $850 million for Amtrak.
• $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint.
• $75 million to construct a “security training” facility for State Department Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.
• $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems.
• $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.
…and the list goes on and on and on. Of late the Administration has been buying votes in Congress with more Taxpayer dollars and coming up with even more pet projects.
4. We were warned that when the 3 a.m. phone call came in their would be no one in the White House to answer the phone. Ring – ring, ring – ring, ring – ring. Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, and others are all ringing the phone off the wall not to mention that the American people are suffering.
5. Obama and his administration have installed some of the most misfit, communistic, ultra left leaning liberals to key positions and act surprised that anyone would take offense to them.
6. The new “I will reach across the aisle president” has only done so to slap the other side with insults, innuendo, and partisan remarks.
7. Oh yes. And the president who was to be for all of us cannot hear any of us that disagree with him. Obama has shown himself to be fussy, persnickety, petulant, and of an otherwise thin-skinned nature. No one’s perfect.
8. In the last 10 months Obama has played more golf, campaigned for more Democrats, and visited more monuments than Arnold Palmer, Bill Clinton, and Rick Steves respectively. And, while I can’t be sure of the number I believe Obama has made more TV appearances than Lassie.
9. While promising and failing at that Promise to close Guantanamo Bay Cuba for the detainees, Obama has managed to get 5 of the worst terrorists transferred to America to be tried with all the rights and benefits of American citizens. And I thought the way he behaved in Saudi Arabia and Egypt was inexcusable.
10. Number ten. Every good list has ten items and so shall this one. Obama has recognized that 12 million Americans have lost their jobs so he has a plan. He is going to have a Summit on the subject which is a fancy way to say, “Obama is planning a MEETING to talk about why no one has a friggin’ job”.
Lest I leave you having sounded cynical I would like to leave you on a positive note. Soon our president will be addressing us all again and he wants Congress to make spending cuts a priority. That should leave you laughing until the next time.