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Posts Tagged ‘White House’
December 30th, 2013 at 7:44 pm
Up Next: ObamaCare Dictator?

Since President Barack Obama refuses to replace any of his political appointees responsible for the epic bureaucratic failure that is Healthcare.gov, liberal supporters of health care reform are trying to turn the crisis into a potential power grab.

“Advocates have been quietly pushing the idea of a CEO who would set marketplace rules, coordinate with insurers and state regulators on the health plans offered for sale, supervise enrollment campaigns and oversee technology,” says a Reuters report.

The move would consolidate responsibility in the hands of one person that reports directly to the White House.

In other words, it would create a “Healthcare.gov Czar,” or, to use the title preferred by FDR when naming such deputies, a dictator.

Since no such position exists in the text of Obamacare, its creation would amount to a unilateral executive action by the President. Unlike the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the proposed dictator would not be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. If created, the position would be immune from virtually any oversight from Congress.

Moreover, erecting a Healthcare.gov CEO within the confines of the White House would be a fundamental rejection of the intended operating structure of Obamacare by the very President who signed it into law.

These reasons, plus others, may explain why the White House is said not to be entertaining such a drastic break with the health law’s basic architecture. Even they fear the likely blowback from a move that further centralizes political control of the health insurance industry.

Still, the fact that Obama’s most liberal supporters are pushing this idea – including Ezekiel Emanuel and wonks at the Center for American Progress – shows that the tendency on the Left is to interpret any problem in implementation as stemming from a lack of power. The endpoint for them is a single-payer system run exclusively by the feds.

Even if this proposal goes nowhere, its currency among the liberal elite shows us where this train is heading. Better to dismantle it before it passes the point of no return.

October 4th, 2013 at 6:00 pm
The White House Fishes for Shutdown Sob Stories

The Obama Administration seems happy to continue its despicable tactic of making the government shutdown seem more harsh than it actually is (including barricading access to the open-air WWII Memorial,ordering the service academies to suspend all intercollegiate athletic events and forcing a privately funded colonial living history farm to close its doors).

At the same time that the Administration is locking doors, barricading entrances and sending people home unnecessarily, the White House is staffing up its website and pleading with Americans to send in dramatic stories of how the government shutdown impacted them.

Apparently Obama and Co. are going to use the sob stories to vilify Republicans and tug at the heartstrings of Americans in the hopes ending the shutdown – or, more likely, score political points.

It’ll be interesting to see what stories are released. It’ll be even more interesting to find out if the stories that are released are actually real.

September 23rd, 2013 at 5:31 pm
Senate Immigration Bill to Help Illegals Convicted of Other Crimes

Here’s the immigration reform version of “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”

Speaking to attendees at the Congressional Black Caucus’s annual conference, Esther Olavarria, the White House’s director of immigration reform, highlighted some provisions of the Senate’s bill that she would like the public to ignore.

Making it easier for illegal immigrants convicted of crimes to stay in the country got special attention.

In Olavarria’s telling, the Senate bill reverses a 1996 law that says any criminal conviction can serve as the basis for deportation. The new language would exempt convictions followed by a suspended sentence, meaning that deportation would not be an option if the offender gets probation instead of jail time.

Bear in mind, the conviction referred to is for a crime separate from illegally entering the country.

Thus, if passed, the Senate bill would not only excuse the foundational illegality of unlawfully entering the country, it would further protect from prosecution those who have been convicted, but not yet served jail time.

But if you haven’t heard about this controversial change in law, Olavarria explains why.

“We haven’t played [them] up because we want to be able to maintain them as we go through the legislative process,” she told the conference attendees. “The bill has a number of other important provisions that have stayed under the radar, and we’d actually like to keep them under the radar.”

That’s because the White House knows it can’t win an open and honest debate about granting illegal immigrants not one, but (at least) two free passes when it comes to breaking the law.

This subterfuge is yet another reason to scrap the Senate’s bill and start over.

H/T: The Daily Caller

May 30th, 2013 at 4:30 pm
Carney Can’t Save Holder’s Misleading Testimony to Congress

Yesterday a reporter read Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent congressional testimony to White House spokesman Jay Carney.

Responding to a question last week about prosecuting journalists as co-conspirators under the Espionage Act of 1917, Holder told a House committee: “In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material – this is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.”

Unfortunately, it came to light soon after that Holder was, in fact, involved in potentially prosecuting a journalist for espionage – James Rosen of Fox News, three years before he made the statement above to Congress.

And yet, in full spin mode and with a straight face, Carney said, “Clearly what the attorney general said is accurate.”

The Hill summarizes Carney’s position as, “media reports indicate that no prosecution of Rosen is being contemplated, and that therefore Holder’s statement regarding potential prosecution is correct.”

But Carney’s characterization changes the timeline. Holder said it’s “not something I’ve ever been involved in,” meaning Holder was never involved in potentially prosecuting a journalist. That’s clearly false. What Carney is trying to do by stressing the current reality that no prosecution is pending is to make it seem like Holder’s failure to prosecute now renders his previous support irrelevant.

Nice try, Jay, but it won’t fly with Congress or the American people.

As I wrote in my column this week, if Holder can’t be trusted to tell the truth under oath – and his track record proves he can’t – then he is unfit for the office he holds. If he won’t step down voluntarily, then Congress will be under the duty to investigate and, if necessary, impeach.

April 2nd, 2013 at 12:40 am
Private Philanthropy Saves Easter Egg Roll

If corporate welfare is subsidies paid by government to businesses, then is government welfare subsidies (voluntarily) paid by businesses to government?

According to the Washington Post, a $25,000 corporate donation from the parent company of the popular Airborne cold tablets played a big role in funding the annual Easter Egg Roll, a 135-year-old tradition the White House threatened to cancel over budget sequestration.  Other funds came from the sale of commemorative eggs sold at the event.

Maybe this could be the beginning of a trend.  With the sequester lopping off between $42 to $85 billion from the federal budget this year, perhaps it’s worth exploring which government programs could generate enough private support to ease the strain on current and future taxpayers.

Who knows; maybe we’ll get to see signs at the entrance of national parks saying, “Supported by Wal-Mart,” or “Brought to You by Whole Food Markets.”

February 25th, 2013 at 1:37 pm
White House Tries to Avoid Sequester by Shaming the Public

As usual, Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog has an interesting series of graphs that show the power of the federal government in granular detail.  Today’s installment, courtesy of the White House, provides a state-by-state assessment of how the coming budget sequester will impact a range of federally-funded, state-run programs.

These include popular spending on initiatives such as teachers and schools, work-study jobs, Head Start, job-search assistance, military readiness, law enforcement, child care, vaccines for children, public health, nutrition assistance for seniors, STOP Violence Against Women Program, and clean air and water.

But while the White House is putting out these details to (ostensibly) convince the public that 10 percent across-the-board cuts in discretionary spending will be devastating to popular programs, there’s also a bit of subtle public shaming thrown in as well.  Reading through the graphs it becomes painfully obvious just how much of modern American life is subsidized by federal tax dollars (and in some cases, also supported by state taxes).  Getting confronted with that reality isn’t comfortable; especially when many people have come to rely on this kind of help.

And yet, something has to change.  We simply can’t raise enough taxes to cover the cost of every liberal social experiment, or even to pay for every good idea.  Instead, we as a country need political and other leaders to think carefully about how to modify the social contract we’ve been under since the New Deal so that the generations to come will not be cheated out of their inheritance.

Much like how they react to any reasonable reform ideas to Medicare (see any number of ‘Medi-scare’ tactics), liberals can’t lead on this modification project because they refuse to acknowledge that America has a spending problem in the first place.  It thus falls to conservatives to improve on what we have, preserving what’s good and making it better.

Part of the reason I’m optimistic about the future is that I don’t believe that details about our nation’s financial problems will shame a majority of citizens into zero-sum taxation.  Rather, I think that once people become aware of how overextended is our current welfare state, they will reward politicians who can show how to scale back the public sector so that the private sector can flourish.

January 14th, 2013 at 6:58 pm
Obama Misses Budget Deadline, Again

The Hill provides the text of a letter sent by the White House Office of Management and Budget to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).

In it, the OMB’s Deputy Director for Management blames the late resolution of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations for causing the White House to violate the law by missing the February 4 deadline for submitting a budget to Congress.

But as The Hill notes, that excuse is nonsense when considered in light of the Obama Administration’s record on budgets:

Under the law, President Obama must submit a budget by the first Monday in February, but he has met the deadline only once. The annual budget submission is supposed to start a congressional budgeting process, but that has also broken down. The Senate last passed a budget resolution in 2009.

Left out of that tidy little summation is the fact that the House Republicans have never failed to pass a budget resolution during the entire time Obama has been president.

The failure of Washington to “work” in the Obama Era is not a failure of substance; both parties are relatively clear about their policy visions.  What’s grinding the system to a halt is the liberal disregard of legal procedures like statutorily defined deadlines.  Throw out the rules, and suddenly no one knows how to play the game.  As I said last week, unless the budget process is amended to enact meaningful punishment on parties who violate it, nothing else is likely to change.

September 21st, 2012 at 2:37 pm
DOJ Fast & Furious Report Leads to Resignation, Retirement

Lachlan Markay of the Heritage Foundation excerpts the top five findings of the Justice Department non-partisan Inspector General’s Fast and Furious report:

1)      The report singles out top Department of Justice officials for wrongdoing

2)      The report appears to contradict sworn testimony by Attorney General Eric Holder

3)      The report faults top Justice Department leadership with failing to adequately respond to the murder of an American border patrol agent

4)      The White House refused to disclose any internal communications to the inspector general

5)      The report fails to consider evidence that a top DOJ official knew the department misled Congress

The fallout has been swift.  On the day the report was released Kenneth Melson, the former acting head of ATF – the DOJ bureau in charge of Fast and Furious – retired, while the DOJ’s Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, resigned.

So far, Attorney General Eric Holder has escaped culpability for the gun-walking program that originated on his watch.

We’ll see if congressional Republican investigators use the IG’s report to close the books on Fast and Furious, or use the Obama White House’s refusal to cooperate as proof that more sleuthing needs to be done.

July 25th, 2012 at 9:49 am
Ramirez Cartoon: White House Leaks
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.

July 12th, 2012 at 9:15 am
Ramirez Cartoon: White House Leaks
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 20th, 2012 at 5:31 pm
House GOP Votes AG Holder in Contempt

As an update to my previous post, here’s the latest from The Hill:

A House panel voted Wednesday to place Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with a subpoena, defying an assertion of executive privilege from President Obama.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Republican Chairman Darrell Issa (Calif.), approved a resolution along party lines to place Holder in contempt after battling him for months over access to internal agency documents about the gun-tracking operation Fast and Furious.

All 23 Republicans on the committee voted for the contempt resolution, while all 17 Democrats voted against it. Every member of the panel was present for the vote.

There are still many off-ramps on the road towards Eric Holder being perp walked into federal prison for being found guilty of contempt of Congress.

Next week the full House will vote on the Oversight Committee’s contempt citation.  If it passes, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia will convene a grand jury to decide on an indictment.  If that is successful, then Holder would have to be found guilty by another jury.  Only then would he be eligible to serve the one-year sentence for refusing to comply with Issa’s repeated requests for documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal.

The process is lengthy, and anyway is beside the point.  The reason Issa and the Republicans are pushing the contempt process forward isn’t to see the U.S. Attorney General go to prison.  It’s to apply the necessary pressure on a recalcitrant Obama administration to release information about one of the dumbest and most tragic federal misadventures in recent memory.

Hiding behind eleventh hour claims of executive privilege won’t make that task any easier.  If Holder and President Barack Obama want to avoid letting Fast and Furious become this administration’s Iran Contra, Holder better personally deliver assurances to Issa that he’s ready to fully cooperate.

And if he can’t because there’s damning information about a DOJ-White House cover-up, get ready for a Watergate role reversal with Republicans in Congress making a Democratic president’s life miserable.

May 4th, 2012 at 6:27 pm
Why Obama’s Dearth of Press Conferences Is Important

Veteran White House correspondent Keith Koffler on why presidential press conferences – and Barack Obama’s distaste for them – are an important issue:

Press conferences are extraordinarily important for several reasons. A number of questions are asked on different topics. The pressure of being on national TV forces the president to explain his thinking. The public gets to actually see the president think and understand how he comes to his conclusions, an invaluable public service.

What’s more, the prospect of a press conference forces the White House to think through its own views. Everybody in the West Wing, including the president, has to stop and consider just what they are doing and why. Often the agencies are mined for answers about current policies so that White House aides can prepare the president, giving the West Wing valuable feedback about what’s going on.

My guess for why Obama doesn’t submit himself to rapid-fire questions about the issues of the day: there are no witty phrases to justify regulations and rhetoric that keep millions out of work while adding trillions to the deficit.

Better to just stay quiet.

February 29th, 2012 at 9:07 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Solar Powered Truth Dispenser
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.

September 29th, 2011 at 5:42 pm
Video: Trio of Scandals Hits the White House
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino points to the mounting scandals – Solyndra, Fast and Furious, Lightsquared – hitting the White House to refute claims that the Obama Administration has been “scandal free.”

August 29th, 2011 at 9:00 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Epicenter of Fault
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.

August 19th, 2011 at 7:05 pm
Obama Justice: Amnesty by Fiat

Here’s an update from the New York Times about how the Obama Administration is implementing the DREAM Act without waiting for Congress to actually pass the measure into law.

The decision would, through administrative action, help many intended beneficiaries of legislation that has been stalled in Congress for a decade. The sponsor of the legislation, Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, has argued that “these young people should not be punished for their parents’ mistakes.”

The next paragraph explains the motivation:

The action would also bolster President Obama’s reputation with Latino voters as he heads into the 2012 election. Just a week ago the leaders of major Hispanic organizations criticized his record, saying in a report that Mr. Obama and Congress had “overpromised and underdelivered” on immigration and other issues of concern to Latino voters, a major force in some swing states.

At least the Times is honest.  We’re still waiting for the White House.

August 5th, 2011 at 10:26 am
Obama Spokesman: “The White House Doesn’t Create Jobs.” You Can Say That Again.
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In a rare moment of candor yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney admitted, “the White House doesn’t create jobs.”  That’s a refreshing contrast from Obama’s previous “jobs saved or created” nonsense, but he can certainly say that again.

Today, the Labor Department reported that unemployment remained essentially unchanged last month at 9.1%, with only 117,000 new jobs created.  Keep in mind that the economy needs approximately 125,000 new jobs per month just to keep the unemployment rate steady, and 200,000 per month to reduce the rate by a single percentage point over an entire year.  In other words, the economy continues to create far too few jobs to significantly reduce the unemployment rate.

Also keep in mind that Obama promised in February 2009 that if we passed his “stimulus,” unemployment would top out at 8% back in the fall of 2009, and be down to around 6% by now.  Instead, we have witnessed a post-war record number of consecutive months at or above 9% unemployment.  Over the same 30-month period that have passed since Obama’s “stimulus” promise, Ronald Reagan’s policies reduced unemployment from 10.4% to 7.1%.

The White House may not create jobs, Mr. Carney, but history shows that its policies can foster growth or, in your case, wreak havoc.

May 20th, 2011 at 11:31 am
Obama Nine Weeks Ago: Libyan Involvement a Matter of “Days, Not Weeks”
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Fully nine weeks ago, President Obama assured members of Congress and the American public that U.S. involvement in Libyan “kinetic military action” would be a matter of “days, not weeks.” Notably, Obama also opined in 2007 that, “The president does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”  Well, according to the 1973 War Powers Resolution, the President must secure Congressional assent for military action or withdraw U.S. forces within 60 days.  Today marks that 60-day milestone.  Well played once again, Mr. President.

May 5th, 2011 at 12:22 pm
White House Stumbling Over Bin Laden Story

As President Barack Obama meets with family members of 9/11 victims in New York today, I hope his press operation back in Washington, D.C. is deciding how to get out of its own way.

Since news leaked of bin Laden’s death on Sunday, the White House communications shop has had to revise, rephrase, and walk back several details of the raid.

Was Osama using one of his wives as a human shield?  No, apparently she voluntarily rushed a Navy SEAL and was wounded.

Was Osama waving a gun at the SEALs?  No, he was unarmed.

Then, pictures of the dead Osama were promised to prove his demise.  Now, we’re told that no pictures will be released and to focus instead on “[t]he broader point…that a group of extraordinary US personnel flew into a foreign country in the dead of night and…flawlessly executed a mission…”

Had fumbling White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and the rest of the Obama Administration focused themselves on such a tight version of events, we probably wouldn’t be distracted with all the post-op corrections.

This kind of ineptitude not only makes Team Obama look incompetent; it makes them look like they can’t tell a good story without ham-handedly putting themselves in the middle of it.

April 15th, 2011 at 10:16 am
The Bush Administration Didn’t Create Your Record Deficits, Mr. Obama
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Observers like Charles Krauthammer are correct:  Barack Obama’s partisan budget attack this week was a “disgrace.”  Almost every sentence was tawdry, caustic or simply dishonest.

One suggestion early in Obama’s speech stood out because it is so easily refuted by simple numbers.  Namely, his latest attempt to scapegoat the Bush Administration and portray his own record deficits as somehow attributable to it:

We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program -– but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending.  Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts -– tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.  To give you an idea of how much damage this caused to our nation’s checkbook, consider this:  In the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.”

But take a look at the actual historical deficit data, with particular attention to 2007, which was the last year under a Republican Congress and White House.  That year’s deficit came in at $161 billion, which is one-tenth the size of Obama’s projected record $1.65 trillion 2011 deficit.  That 2007 deficit was also down from $378 billion in 2003, when the tax cuts, Iraq invasion and drug benefit occurred.  In his usual straw-man manner of argumentation, Obama mocked those who claim we can reduce our debt by eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse,” but what better way to characterize his latest un-presidential harangue?