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Posts Tagged ‘Obama’
June 6th, 2014 at 11:19 am
“Operation Choke Point” – Obama Administration’s Latest Tactic to Circumvent Rule of Law and Persecute Disfavored Groups
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

By now Americans are well familiar with the Obama Administration’s habit of circumventing laws and persecuting groups it disfavors.  The IRS.  Operation “Fast and Furious.”  Targeting journalists.  The EPA.  More recently, its release of five high-level terrorists from Guantanamo Bay without consulting Congress as required by statute.

Now, we can add “Operation Choke Point” to that dishonorable list.

As detailed by a new House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report, Operation Choke Point is an Obama Justice Department campaign to “choke out” perfectly legal businesses that the Administration simply finds politically objectionable.  “The goal of the initiative,” the House report notes, “is to deny these merchants access to the banking and payments networks that every business needs to survive”:

Over the past year, the Department of Justice has initiated a wide-ranging investigation of banks and payment processors, known informally as ‘Operation Choke Point.’  As of December 2013, the Department has issued over fifty subpoenas to banks and payment processors.  The ostensible goal of the investigation is to combat mass-market consumer fraud by foreclosing fraudsters’ access to payment systems.  However, there is evidence that the true goal of Operation Choke Point is to target industries deemed ‘high-risk’ or otherwise objectionable by the Administration.”

Those targeted industries include firearms and ammunition sellers, short-term lenders that help lower-income workers, and other legitimate businesses.  By threatening and pressuring banks and financial institutions through this operation, the Obama Administration hopes to pressure them to refuse to continue doing business with law-abiding targeted industries.  Although the Administration claims to be acting on the basis of federal statutes prohibiting consumer fraud, the House report notes that no fraud by the targeted businesses has been demonstrated, let alone proven by evidence in a court of law.

The House will continue to pursue the matter, but individual Americans can do their part by remaining vigilant on this issue, and by contacting their elected representatives in the House and Senate to demand action (contact information can be found quickly and easily on CFIF’s “Take Action” page here).

June 6th, 2014 at 8:41 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Imperial President
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

June 4th, 2014 at 8:02 pm
Remembering What the Taliban Stands For

By now you’ve probably heard about the scandal surrounding the Obama administration’s deal to free five Taliban officials held at Guantanamo Bay for what increasingly looks like a deserter from the U.S. Army stationed in Afghanistan.

Those in the mainstream media defending the move – including a Daily Beast columnist who tweeted, “What’s the argument that these five Taliban guys are so dangerous? Are they ninjas? Do they have superpowers?” – would do well to remember how the Taliban’s members earned their cells at Gitmo.

The five released prisoners “were top officials in the Taliban regime: a provincial governor, a deputy defense minister, a deputy intelligence minister, a top arms smuggler, and a top Taliban military commander. Two of them are wanted by the United Nations for war crimes committed against Afghanistan’s Shiites,” writes Robert Tracinski.

Tracinski then gives a sampling of what these kinds of Taliban officials do:

  • Bomb schools because they let girls play sports
  • Shoot a girl in the head because she stands up for her right to be educated
  • Mutilate women to punish them for disobedience in their roles as marital slaves
  • Drag a 7-year-old out of the yard where he is playing and hang him from a tree because his grandfather spoke out against the Taliban

America can’t right every wrong in the world, but surely it should be counted on to keep the world safe from criminals in its custody. Freeing five prisoners so they can rejoin the ranks of a known terrorist organization is a deplorable dereliction of duty. If any of these men go on to commit more crimes, those who agreed to their release will share the blame.

May 29th, 2014 at 10:35 am
“I First Read About the VA Scandal in the Newspaper…”
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

May 16th, 2014 at 1:51 pm
Switzerland: No Minimum Wage, Low Unemployment, High Standard of Living
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

It might surprise many people to learn that Switzerland has no minimum wage, as The Wall Street Journal reports:

Switzerland will decide Sunday whether the country’s workforce should get something it has never had before:  a minimum wage.  On May 18, the Alpine nation will vote on an initiative to introduce a minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs ($25) an hour, a level that would be the highest in the world.”

But note the remarkably low Swiss unemployment rate:

Switzerland has an enviably low unemployment rate of 3.2%, but Boris Zuercher, head of the Swiss labor office, said the proposal would hurt the people it is designed to help if it makes it too expensive to hire low-skilled job seekers.”

So no minimum wage, low unemployment, and a famously high standard of living.  The Swiss example is obviously something that domestic proponents of a minimum wage increase, including Barack Obama, should internalize.

May 7th, 2014 at 4:28 pm
Cruz Highlights 76 Lawless Actions by Obama Admin

Today, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) unveiled his fourth cataloguing of the Obama administration’s abuses of power.

Among the 76 instances described, the Daily Caller spotlights eight that show the range and depth of the executive department’s dereliction of duty:

1.    “Obama implemented portions of the DREAM Act by executive action”

2.    “Ended some terror asylum restrictions”

3.    “Recognized same sex marriage in Utah despite a Supreme Court stay on a court order allowing the institution”

4.    “Illegally revealed the existence of sealed indictments in the Benghazi investigation”

5.    “Illegally delayed ObamaCare verification of eligibility for healthcare subsidies”

6.    “Ordered Boeing to fire 1,000 employees in South Carolina and shut down a new factory because it was non-union”

7.    “Terminated the pensions of 20,000 non-union Delphi employees in the GM bankruptcy”

8.    “Government agencies are engaging in ‘Operation Choke Point,’ where the government asks banks to ‘choke off’ access to financial services for customers engaging in conduct the Administration does not like – such as ‘ammunition sales.’”

As this partial listing makes clear, good luck finding an example where the Obama administration has flouted the law to favor conservatives and obstruct liberals.

Download the full report (pdf) here.

April 29th, 2014 at 1:56 pm
Free Market Fairness

Ben Domenech says that one way for conservatives to reframe their economic message before the 2014 midterms is to start using the phrase, “free market fairness.”

“Those on the right should be prepared to make the case that the warped relationship between Wall Street and Washington needs to be fixed, that socialized risks and privatized profits are fundamentally unfair, and that… equality-focused policy solutions, and those of the left, would hurt income mobility and systematically destroy wealth and growth,” he writes in the Wall Street Journal.

Free market fairness can be thought of as the alternative to crony capitalism. The latter can be defined as “government efforts to tilt markets in favor of preferred firms [to] reward political connections and lobbying money.” Troy’s recent article on eliminating the elite-driven Export-Import Bank is an excellent example of how conservatives can show they are serious about removing barriers to equal economic opportunities.

Adopting the free market fairness frame also strengthens the GOP’s insistence on a government dedicated to the rule of law. As Solyndra and other Recovery Act era abuses fade from memory, the rule of law critique has been increasingly focused on abuses of executive discretion like Deferred Action for illegal immigrants, Justice Department refusals to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and the growing litany of delays and waivers of ObamaCare. Refocusing on how crony capitalism picks winners and losers would bring the rule of law argument full circle.

Maintaining a fair playing field isn’t the same as giving one team extra points. The only way the American dream can remain open to everyone is if the people in charge of the rule book fairly to all participants.

March 25th, 2014 at 2:00 pm
Obama’s New Overtime Rules Will Shrink Hours, Pay

The road to underemployment is paved with (so-called) good intentions.

In case you missed it, the Obama Labor Department is trying to raise the compensation threshold so that managers making at least $50,000 annually will qualify for overtime pay. The current threshold is $24,000.

To the liberal mind this policy change can only benefit workers by putting more money into their pockets. But to actual business owners like Andy Puzder, the real world consequences will mean less money and less work for the very people the Obama administration is trying to help.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Puzder – the CEO of several quick service restaurant chains like Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s – notes that current managers are eligible for performance bonuses of up to 28 percent of their salary. But if the new overtime rules go into effect, many of these will lose their managerial status and go back to hourly employment. Along with being demoted, they will very likely be assigned less hours to work to avoid triggering more expensive overtime pay. And for those that do qualify, their raise will translate into less money for the store’s operating budget, meaning less hours for someone else.

In a very tangible way, the Obama Labor Department’s new overtime rule seems destined to exacerbate the underemployment crisis in the American economy. How is is that the people proposing this can be so short-sighted?

March 25th, 2014 at 11:09 am
Ramirez Cartoon: World Famous Bear Trainer
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

March 14th, 2014 at 1:34 pm
Could Obama Neuter Putin by Increasing Natural Gas Exports?

That is the interesting idea being floated by commentators looking for ways to halt Russia’s military adventurism in Ukraine.

If direct military intervention is off the table – and at this point it’s hard to imagine the Obama administration going that route – then exporting America’s vast new reservoir of liquefied natural gas to Europe could be a way to deter Russian aggression in the region while at the same time strengthening our allies.

Gazprom, a huge state-controlled gas provider in Russia, supplies much of Europe. Hesitancy on the part of some European governments to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is tied to Russia’s use of Gazprom to raise prices or restrict access when confronted with political situations it does not like. Increasing United States exports of its natural gas stock to Europe would diminish this threat substantially, allowing America’s European allies to take a more assertive stance against further Russian force.

In order to wean Europe off of Russian gas, President Barack Obama “should order the Energy Department to expedite authorization for roughly 25 liquefied natural gas export facilities. Demand all decisions within six weeks. And express major U.S. support for a southern-route pipeline to export Caspian Sea gas to Europe without traversing Russia or Ukraine,” writes Charles Krauthammer.

This solution puts an abundant natural resource to work for America’s national security interests, and also increases the number of domestic production and manufacturing jobs. The only hitch is that it requires President Obama to commit his administration to an energy policy opposed by liberal environmentalists. That alone probably dooms an otherwise win-win alternative to direct military intervention or sitting pat while Russia reconstitutes the Soviet Union. If so, it’s more confirmation that current Oval Office decisions are based more on pleasing special interest groups than helping domestic workers or our foreign allies.

March 10th, 2014 at 9:16 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Obama Budget
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

March 5th, 2014 at 9:08 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: The Red Line Part II
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

January 13th, 2014 at 11:59 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Commander In Chef
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

January 10th, 2014 at 9:57 am
The Obama Malaise Continues: Shockingly Dismal New Jobs Report
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Nearly half a decade has passed since the last recession ended in June 2009.  Unfortunately, this morning’s monthly jobs report from the Labor Department sent another alarming signal that the worst recovery in recorded U.S. history continues.  That is directly attributable to the destructive economic policies of the Obama Administration, and changes must be made, lest we stall into an entirely new recession.

According to the Labor Department, the economy added a shockingly low 74,000 jobs in December.  That is the lowest total in three years, and it fell 126,000 jobs short of the consensus expectation of 200,000 or more (which was economists’ highest predicted number in several months).  Nobody foresaw that tiny job creation number.  Even more alarming, the labor participation rate (meaning the percentage of all Americans actually choosing to participate in the workforce) fell again to 62.8%, the lowest number since 1978.  That is significant because that was before women had more fully entered the workforce.

The Obama Administration and its apologists may attempt to cite the decline in the overall unemployment rate to 6.7%, but that is not the result of an improving economy or labor market, but rather because some 374,000 additional Americans simply dropped out of the workforce and stopped searching for jobs.  Moreover, the Administration assured us back in January 2009 that the rate would be down to its pre-recession level of 5% by now under its wasteful trillion-dollar “stimulus.”

This sharp slowdown is simply the latest evidence that we haven’t “turned the corner” as Obama has been telling us since as far back as 2010.  Rather, we’re going in circles.  Until we return to the policies of lower taxes, less regulation and smaller government that create jobs and economic growth, that will continue.  The numbers prove that beyond any rational doubt at this point.  The answer isn’t more unemployment checks, but putting America back to work.

January 2nd, 2014 at 7:04 pm
House GOP: ObamaCare a National Security Risk

House Republicans are getting ready to ring in the New Year by focusing on Obamacare’s security risks.

As I’ve written previously, personal information entered into an account on Healthcare.gov – the federal Obamacare insurance exchange – may not be protected from identity thieves.

Amazingly, “Under current policy, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services is tasked with deciding whether there is a risk of harm and whether individuals need to be notified whenever a security breach occurs,” says Fox News. “Republican lawmakers argue that the notification should not be optional.

A memo authored by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) calls for the chamber to vote on bills that would require HHS and its affiliates to notify the public if a security breach occurs.

Democrats are crying foul, but their opposition is self-serving. The only reason not to support the change to mandatory notice is to preserve the false sense of security that no notice means that all is safe.

President Obama once promised that his is “the most transparent administration in history.” The least he could do is apply that promise to the law that bears his name.

January 1st, 2014 at 2:14 pm
Lack of Expertise May Doom Obamacare’s Viability

According to management experts, there are three pretty obvious reasons why the Obama administration was ill-prepared to make Heathcare.gov work.

“The heart of the issue, many of these people say, is that Obama and his inner circle had scant executive experience prior to arriving in the West Wing, and dim appreciation of the myriad ways the federal bureaucracy can frustrate an ambitious president,” reports Politico. “And above all, they had little apparent interest in the kind of organizational and motivational concepts that typically are the preoccupation of the most celebrated modern managers.”

In other words, no one in an Obamacare leadership position had relevant experience in this area. Worse, the President himself doesn’t appear to think this glaring deficiency matters.

It’s hard to fathom how a program so central to Obama’s legacy could be quarterbacked so poorly for so long, but here we are. The President thought that simply passing Obamacare would be enough to cement his status as one of the nation’s all-time greats. But if Republicans unite around an alternative and win back Congress this year, he’ll be lucky to leave office with anything resembling a workable program.

December 23rd, 2013 at 9:11 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Trust?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 18th, 2013 at 11:07 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 5th, 2013 at 5:04 pm
Chaiters Never Win

Yesterday I was attacked in cyberprint, bizarrely and scurrilously,  by liberal professional race-baiter Jonathan Chait. Somehow, apparently, calling Barack Obama “haughty” makes me at least somewhat an “heir” to vicious slave overseers. I responded at NRO today, at length, but not in kind, instead trying to keep the debate on a constructive plane — with this being one of the key passages:

Chait gives far too little credit to conservatives under 50, to so many of us who grew up as admirers of the famously minority-friendly Jack Kemp, for being perfectly well aware of, and greatly saddened by, what he calls the “still-extant residue” of the more virulently racist society that once existed. If he would only look, he would find plenty of examples of conservative thinkers and writers expounding thoughtfully and sympathetically on problems still faced by black Americans and on the Right’s own failures to address them.

It’s hard to make progress in good faith when the other side refuses to assume you possess good faith to start with.

But in trying to stay on the topic of constructive race relations, I deliberately avoided a few other highly legitimate rebuttals or explanations that need saying but that didn’t serve my main points. Let me address them here.

First, consider the source. It is truly bizarre to be told by Fulminator X that it is off limits, supposedly because it is latently and effectively racist, to use somewhat harsh language to criticize a president who happens to be black, even if such language is less harsh than that used by Fulminator X to criticize a white president. How is it a sign of racial equality to treat a black president as a creature too fragile to be subject to mean, hateful words such as … er… “haughty”?

Consider my supposedly off-limits paragraph:

Every time decent people think the scandals and embarrassments circling Barack Obama will sink this presidency, we look up and see Obama still there — chin jutting out, countenance haughty, voice dripping with disdain for conservatives — utterly unembarrassed, utterly undeterred from any assertion of power he thinks he can get away with, tradition and propriety and the Constitution be damned. The man has no shame, no self-doubt, not a shred of humility, no sense that anybody else has legitimate reason to question him or hold any other point of view.

Now compare that to the breathtaking treatment, in Jonathan Chait’s most (in)famous essay ever, that Chait afforded George W. Bush:

I hate President George W. Bush…. I hate the way he walks–shoulders flexed, elbows splayed out from his sides like a teenage boy feigning machismo. I hate the way he talks–blustery self-assurance masked by a pseudopopulist twang. I even hate the things that everybody seems to like about him. I hate his lame nickname-bestowing– a way to establish one’s social superiority beneath a veneer of chumminess (does anybody give their boss a nickname without his consent?). And, while most people who meet Bush claim to like him, I suspect that, if I got to know him personally, I would hate him even more…. … Conservatives believe liberals resent Bush in part because he is a rough-hewn Texan. In fact, they hate him because they believe he is not a rough-hewn Texan but rather a pampered frat boy masquerading as one, with his pickup truck and blue jeans serving as the perfect props to disguise his plutocratic nature…. …Bush is a dullard lacking any moral constraints in his pursuit of partisan gain, loyal to no principle save the comfort of the very rich, unburdened by any thoughtful consideration of the national interest, and a man who, on those occasions when he actually does make a correct decision, does so almost by accident.

But isn’t it such a shame that I called Obama “haughty?”

MOVING RIGHT ALONG….

The truly outlandish thing Chait writes is that it is “factually bizarre” — not even a strange opinion, but “factually” bizarre — to accuse Obama of being haughty and unembarrassed. (Somebody needs to explain to Chait that a “fact” is something inarguable, provable, not subject to disagreement.) Why? Because in a recent press conference Obama supposedly was (get THIS!) “profusely and even flamboyantly contrite.” Huh? Flamboyantly? I just re-read the press conference transcript, and it is full of mild acknowledgments that the ObamaCare web site isn’t working perfectly while all bracketed in an insistence that everything still is better than it seems and will get better still. While he mouthed several pro forma acceptances of responsibility — “it’s on me” — there were plenty of observers who noted that he didn’t always seem to really mean it.

To quote the ever-left Dana Milbank on the president’s attitude:

Even as he accepted responsibility for the debacle, he couldn’t resist transferring some blame to the assembled press (“the things that go right, you guys aren’t going to write about”) and to Republicans (“repeal, repeal, let’s get rid of this thing”).

But Obama seemed genuinely puzzled by the notion that his leadership may have been the cause.

Yet it is supposedly “factually bizarre” for me to fail to appreciate this president’s supposedly self-evident humility. Right. Look, if I were the only one who finds Obama generally haughty and self-referential, that would be one thing. But a Google search would quickly produce hundreds and hundreds of similar judgments.

I could go on.  But the takeout should be this: Just as Obama’s skin color should play no role in any criticism of him, nor should it shield him from criticism, much less to accuse his critics of the ultimate political sin of some version of racism.

Maybe somebody should tell Chait that, to stoop to such unfair insults rather than to engage in legitimate debate, one might be charged with being a “dullard lacking any moral constraint.”

December 5th, 2013 at 8:57 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Obama Foreign Policy
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.