Wow, so disturbing. That’s your warning, truly upsetting.
Wow, so disturbing. That’s your warning, truly upsetting.
President Obama told the African Union Tuesday that he felt he had been a “pretty good” president and if he were allowed to run for a third term, he’d probably be victorious.
Obama made the remarks while criticizing leaders on the continent who wouldn’t step aside at the conclusion of their terms.
“Now, let me be honest with you,” Obama said. “I do not understand this. I am in my second term. It has been an extraordinary privilege for me to serve as the President of the United States. I cannot imagine a greater honor or a more interesting job. I love my work. But under our Constitution, I cannot run again.”
The crowd cheered appreciatively.
“I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” he said. “I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t. So there’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving, but the law is the law.”
The law is the law? Really? I think he’s playing around with the idea of somehow staying in office.
We’ve had a healthy discussion to our “Africa is on the Move” post, mostly about how Africa isn’t.
Reader Joe reported from South Africa about the decline in the quality of life and the stability of society since apartheid ended. (No secret to long-time readers here: Joe has been thusly reporting for years, often—but not always—backed up by pesky facts.)
Or is that the wrong way to put it? The change from minority white rule to majority black rule can’t be solely responsible. Surely nothing so superficial as skin color determines a country’s fate.
Or does it?
Who wants to join me for a Charleston in the minefield of racial stereotype? Any takers? Cowards. (Eric Holder was right.)
As our original post noted, Africa is riven with bloodshed and corruption. For the purposes of this discussion, bloodshed is excused. It’s not solely an African thing right now—as it was in the 90s, when Rwanda and the Congo alone killed more than six million people. It’s an Islam thing, Boko Haram and Al Shabaab most prominently. To be sure, Africa is the bloody playground for titanic global forces—Islamofascism today, Marxism back in the day—but so is Asia today, and so were the Americas back then.
Neither is corruption unique to Africa, though God knows they could call it the Dark Continent based on shadiness alone. And then I thought of a possible exception: Botswana.
First, I must confess that almost everything I know about Botswana comes from a white Scotsman, Alexander McCall Smith, author of the Number One Ladies Detective Agency books. (The rest I know by way of Wikipedia.) The Botswanans Smith describes are earnest, hardworking, honest, patriotic. Sure, there are louts and liars among them, but the nation as a whole seems sane. Especially when compared to their neighbors (South Africa, Zimbabawe, etc.).
Is Botswana for real; if so, why? Its history makes for dull reading, so lacking is it in genocide or other human rights atrocities. It had no army for the first decade of its independence, and even now fields a defense force only about the size of the Chicago Police Department. So much for foreign adventurism.
Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country. By one estimate, it has the fourth highest gross national income at purchasing power parity in Africa, giving it a standard of living around that of Mexico and Turkey.
What’s their secret? Is it because Botswana is landlocked and largely desert? Is it because there are so few people (two million-ish), 4/5ths of whom are one ethnic group (Tswana)?
And then I read this aside: “Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa”. A low bar, perhaps, but how uncorrupt is the least corrupt country in Africa?
Scoring 63 on a 100-point scale (with Denmark scoring the top mark of 92), it rates ahead of Poland, Portugal, even Israel. It even gives France a run for its money. South Africa, by comparison, scores, 44 (barely ahead of Greece); Zimbabawe 21, barely ahead of Haiti. As for the rest of sub-Sharan Africa, only nine nations out of 47 rate in the top half of “transparency”.
So, is corruption the cause of Africa’s problems? Not solely—Asia is no bargain on the “transparency” front, and no one would argue that China and India (scoring 36 and 38 respectively) are economic sloughs of despond. I thought about one-party rule being a suspect (South Africa has been in the grasp of the ANC for all of the 20+ years since majority rule), but, again, look at China.
But China is sui generis. To compare puny African economies to China’s is absurd. I’m pretty much out of my depth by now (still in the shallow end for most other people), but I think Botswana does prove that sub-Saharan Africans can run their economies and societies in a manner that does not lead to the death and displacement of millions. I also think that most of the rest of Africa proves how rare and difficult that is to do. I also think corruption—along with Islamofascism—is a major reason why.
I guess I haven’t moved the ball far down the field—but I bet you didn’t know Botswana is the Denmark of Africa!
I suppose if I were a snotty liberal (and I was, once), I would wholly approve of employing all regiments and divisions of the civilian army—aka the government—against the mortal enemy, conservatives. Scorched earth would suit the bastards—get them ready for the fires of Hell where they will reside for eternity.
Alas, that’s not the form of government dictated by the Constitution. The spirit of the Declaration of Independence is made law: rights and liberties of the individual are protected against usurpations of the all-powerful state.
Targeting of tea party-supportive groups is becoming “an old story,” Rep. Darrell Issa said Friday, but the “targeting is still happening.”
“It is clearly still a procedure,” the California Republican told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” host Bill Hemmer, pointing out that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has promised to get the bottom of the scandal, but is now saying it’s not his call to make when it comes to admitting conservative groups had been targeted for extra scrutiny.
“The fact is, he is a spokesperson for the president and is part of the delay and cover-up,” said Issa. “This is becoming an old story, and the president … is actually trying to take back his words from 2013 when he admitted this was unreasonable targeting. [Barack Obama] He wants to talk about how there is not enough money and blame a law passed before he was born that served us well and from then until now when it was suddenly broken.”
Further, Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation, “was at the seat of government, here in Washington. She was high-ranking and was a partisan who was allowed to transfer from the FCC to the IRS, where she acted close and in concert with the commissioner.”
Late last month, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the IRS to deliver a status update on Lerner’s emails, as well as those by other IRS officials, after the activist group Judicial Watch filed legal demands.
And on Thursday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asserted there is evidence that the IRS intentionally targeted conservative groups under Lerner, the former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit at the agency, and said “there will be news … as early as next week.”
Big whoop. Lerner pled the Fifth over two years ago. Except for a single reporter who approached her walking her dog, has she been the least bit inconvenienced?
She “retired” from the IRS with a reported pension of $100,000. And even though Congress cited her for contempt, she sang to Politico—without any repercussions:
“Regardless of whatever else happens, I know I did the best I could under the circumstances and am not sorry for anything I did,” Lerner told Politico.
While her emails clearly denigrated conservative groups, and she’s a registered Democrat, Lerner claimed that she never allowed politics to play a role in her professional decisions, saying, ”My personal opinions have never affected my work.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs, called the interview “a poke in the eye to the American citizens”
“Ms. Lerner’s desire to play the victim to the press while refusing to answer questions about her conduct from Congress underscores why the House of Representatives held her in contempt,” Jordan wrote in a statement. “There are many unanswered questions, and her recent statements to the press answer none of them while suggesting that she has the answers.”
Jordan called for the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Lerner.
Obama swore to get to the bottom of the IRS goon squad—and he did. There was “not a smidgen of corruption” he assured us, middle fingers prominently displayed.
Whaddya gonna do about it?
Hillary Clinton faced new calls Friday to turn over her personal server after key inspectors general asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether classified material was improperly shared on the former secretary of state’s account.
In correspondence obtained by Fox News, the inspectors general for the State Department and intelligence community raised deep concerns about the contents of the Democratic presidential candidate’s emails. An initial joint memo sent June 29 to State Department Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy said a review of Clinton’s email archive showed “hundreds of potentially classified emails.”
Uh, who would prosecute this? Would it be Loretta Lynch? Pizza, beer, dope, beach, Dumb and Dumber… every goofy cat video on the internet. No way, no how. This is summertime fluff.
President Obama in a taped appearance with the Daily’s Shows Jon Stewart Tuesday denied that IRS targeted conservatives, an assertion that Stewart then appeared to ridicule him for making.
“It turns out,” Obama said, that wasn’t true. He said Congress “passed a crummy law” that provided vague guidance to the people who worked at the IRS. And he said that employees implemented the law “poorly and stupidly.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton announced today that Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the IRS last week to begin producing, every Monday, nearly 1,800 newly recovered Lois Lerner emails. Judge Sullivan ruled on the matter from the bench during a status conference on July 1, 2015. Despite the court order, the IRS failed to produce any Lois Lerner emails yesterday. The IRS also failed to provide Judicial Watch a status of the Lois Lerner email production issues, as also ordered by Judge Sullivan.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recovered the emails from IRS back-up tapes. TIGTA was able to locate the Lois Lerner back-up tapes within one day of requesting them from the IRS.
The TIGTA report details that the Treasury Department also knew about the Lerner email problems for months but made no public disclosure. TIGTA discloses that other records remain missing, including potentially over 300 IRS hard drives. The office of IRS Chief Counsel William J. Wilkins, an Obama political appointee, oversaw the mishandling of the Lois Lerner email issue.
“The IRS, working through the Justice Department, has violated an explicit federal court order to begin turning over Lois Lerner’s ‘lost’ emails,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama IRS’ contempt for the courts and for Congress resulted in a massive destruction of evidence. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s and IRS Chief Counsel William J. Wilkins’ resignations are long overdue.”
The developments come in Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking documents about the Obama IRS’ targeting and harassment of Tea Party and conservative opponents of President Obama (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559)). Judicial Watch’s litigation forced the IRS first to admit that Lerner’s emails were supposedly missing and, then, that the emails were on IRS back-up systems.
Lawsuit. As in they be suing yo’ ass. We’ll see what’s true and what ain’t.
Obama jumped back in, blaming Congress for not providing enough funds for both the IRS and the Department of Veterans Affairs to work properly.
The real scandal around the IRS, he said, “is that they have been so poorly funded that they cannot go after these folks who are deliberately avoiding tax payments.”
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Tuesday the embattled agency’s troubles are a thing of the past, insisting the tax collectors have halted extravagant conferences, no longer pay bonuses to employees who cheat on their taxes, and no longer target nonprofit groups for intrusive scrutiny.
He said he personally has to approve expensive conferences now, which has cut down on those costs by 80 percent since 2010, when internal audits found lavish spending and wasteful projects totaling tens of millions of dollars.
And Mr. Koskinen said he’s halted bonuses to tax cheat employees, and is taking steps to try to make sure former IRS employees who cheat on their taxes or who had performance problems aren’t rehired back by the agency — something an internal audit earlier this year reported has happened regularly.
Nice to hear…from the guy who somehow neglected to mention that Lois Lerner’s emails were anything but destroyed.
Anyhow, anybody who believes a word from Obama’s mouth has only himself or herself to blame.
That someone is trying to pull a fast one on you—and is so confident of success, they don’t care if you’re on to them?
According to the report, IRS Chief Technology Officer Terry Milholland told the IG office he was “blown away” after learning the tapes had been demagnetized — a process known as “degaussing.” This was done at the IRS’s IT center in Martinsburg, W.Va. Those tapes are believed to have contained Lerner emails that “were responsive to Congressional demands and subpoenas,” the report says.
“Backup tapes were destroyed as a result of IRS management,” the report says, noting officials failed to appropriately follow a May 2013 directive from Milholland concerning record preservation.
The report further states that the IRS “did not fully identify as a source or perform recovery attempts for email” associated with Lerner. It says that as many as “23,000 to 24,000 email messages may not have been provided to Congress.”
And then there’s this exchange that sounds like a couple of mobsters who know they’re on a recorded line:
A July 19, 2011, email from Carl Froehlich, who headed the service’s “Agency Wide Shared Services” division, to Lerner declared that “Lillie Wilburn” was on the case. Wilburn is the IRS’s program manager of network services for IT in Atlanta.
“It may be too late – don’t send them off to the hard drive cemetery,” Lerner wrote to the IRS’ IT department on July 20.
On Aug. 5, 2011, Wilburn wrote to Lerner: “Unfortunately the news is not good. The sectors of the hard drive were bad which made your data [unrecoverable]. I am very sorry. Everyone tried their best.”
Lerner then replied: “Thanks for trying. It really do appreciate the effort. Sometimes stuff just happens.”
VITO: Did you take care of that…situation, you know, about our friend from Detroit?
VINNIE: Yeah, he won’t be…doin’ business wid us no more. He’s out of the racket, permanent like.
VITO: It may be too late – don’t send him them off to the cemetery.
VINNIE: I am very sorry. Everyone tried their best.
VITO: Thanks for trying. It really do appreciate the effort. Sometimes stuff just happens.
But this is how you know they’re really “farting in our general direction” (per Monty Python):
“I want to ask you about another name. Have you ever heard of the name Kate Duval?” asked Gowdy.
“Yes sir,” said Camus.
“Who is Kate Duval? Because I think I’ve heard that name before too,” said Gowdy.
“Kate Duval is the chief counsel representative, the IRS’ counselor concerning the production issues to Congress,” said Camus. “She was a lawyer in charge of making sure the counsel made production to Congress.” (The Senate Finance Committee also lists Kate Duval in its timeline of IRS communications with Congress.)
“So she’s in charge of making sure that emails and other matters get produced,” said Gowdy.
“Yes sir,” said Camus.
“Is she still with the IRS?” asked Gowdy.
“She is not, I don’t recall the date that she left, but she’s no longer,” said Camus.
“Do you know where she is now?” asked Gowdy.
“I can get that information for you,” said Camus.
“No, I know where she is now. She’s at the Department of State, in charge of their email productions,” said Gowdy. “Wow.”
Wow indeed. The same person who helped “disappear” Lois Lerner’s electronic footprints is now doing the same for Hillary Clinton. And very effectively. For once a government worker who’s good at her job.
If the Obama regime has anything to fear from Congress, the press, the courts, a vengeful God, they sure don’t act like it. So far, they’ve had no need to. In fact, they seem to be enjoying themselves lying, stonewalling, obstructing justice, etc. What’s not to enjoy?
At 3:34 he references the four words… just words, I guess.
“enrolled … through an exchange established by the state.”
I am pretty sure that the court will support Obama, for a number of reasons. I believe the conspiracy theory that says that John Roberts is afraid of somehow losing his adopted kids. I believe it because his ruling on this issue in 2012 was out of character and because there were multiple reports that he changed his mind at the last minute. Beyond that, I think that the court doesn’t want to be subjected to the level of invective that this White House is capable of applying. We don’t really have an co-equal, triple branch of government system anymore. We have a bullying executive branch and both the legislative branch and the judicial branch are very, very weak. So even if the conspiracy “folks” are full of it (an excellent possibility), I still think that the Obama administration will win.
Do you like word games? How many lies can you find in this headline?
Palestinian Authority cracks down on former PM’s nonprofit
I count five: Palestinian; Authority; Palestinian Authority; cracks down; and nonprofit.
Oh, the story? Very well:
The Palestinian Authority has confiscated the funds of a nonprofit organization headed by former prime minister Salam Fayyad, Palestinian media reported on Monday.
Fayyad, an economist and political independent who was warmly embraced by the West during his 2007-2013 tenure as prime minister, told the Ma’an News Agency that he would seek legal recourse over the confiscation of funds donated to Palestine Tomorrow for Social Development, an associated founded in 2005 to empower impoverished segments of Palestinian society.
While Fayyad has provided no detailed account of the accusations leveled against his organization, sources close to the former premier told the London-based daily that it has consistently operated according to Palestinian law.
Another three lies! Palestinian; law; and Palestinian law.
Want one more?
Sources close to Fayyad told the London-based news website al-Araby al-Jadeed on Monday that three weeks ago the Palestinian prosecutor general ordered the confiscation of a bank transfer worth $700,000 from the Emirates Red Crescent, earmarked for a well-digging project in Area C of the West Bank geared at “supporting the steadfastness of Bedouins.”
Steadfastness of Bedouins? Aren’t they the the embodiment of the opposite? They’re nomads. Which is fine—but what’s steadfast about nomadism?
Anyway, confiscate the money, or don’t. Who cares? Either way, no “impoverished segment of Palestinian society” will ever see one red cent.
Bessie Smith popularized it. Janis Joplin owned it:
Jonathan Gruber, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist whose comments about the health-care law touched off a political furor, worked more closely than previously known with the White House and top federal officials to shape the law, previously unreleased emails show.
The emails, provided by the House Oversight Committee to The Wall Street Journal, cover messages Mr. Gruber sent from January 2009 through March 2010. Committee staffers said they worked with MIT to obtain the 20,000 pages of emails.
The committee released the information in the days before the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a lawsuit that could strike down subsidies on the federal health-care insurance exchange.
The emails show frequent consultations between Mr. Gruber and top Obama administration staffers and advisers in the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services on the Affordable Care Act. They show he informed HHS about interviews with reporters and discussions with lawmakers, and he consulted with HHS about how to publicly describe his role.
The administration has sought to distance itself from the economist in the wake of his controversial statements in a 2013 video, where he said the health law passed because of the “huge political advantage” of the legislation’s lacking transparency. He also referred to the “stupidity of the American voter.”
Gruber was incapable of shutting up—and incapable of lying.
After the law passed, in 2011 and throughout 2012, multiple states sought his expertise to help them understand their options regarding the choice to set up their own exchanges. During that period of time, in January of 2012, Gruber told an audience at Noblis, a technical management support organization, that tax credits—the subsidies available for health insurance—were only available in states that set up their own exchanges.
Here’s what Gruber says.
“What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges.
This quote—and the video in which he speaks it—were rediscovered a year ago. Rediscovered. He never made a secret of it.
The White House has described Mr. Gruber as having a limited role in crafting the law. President Barack Obama in 2014 said Mr. Gruber was “some adviser who never worked on our staff.”
The emails show Mr. Gruber was in touch with key advisers such as Peter Orszag, who was director of the Office of Management and Budget, an arm of the White House that oversaw federal programs.
He was also in contact with Jason Furman, an economic adviser to the president, and Ezekiel Emanuel, who was then a special adviser for health policy at OMB.
One email indicates Mr. Gruber was invited to meet with Mr. Obama. In a July 2009 email, he wrote that Mr. Orszag had “invited me to meet with the head honcho to talk about cost control.”
“Thank you for being an integral part of getting us to this historic moment,” according to Sept. 9, 2009 email to Mr. Gruber from Jeanne Lambrew, a top Obama administration health adviser who worked at HHS and the White House. In a November 2009 email, she called Mr. Gruber “our hero.”
They can lie all they want, and maybe get away with it. But among the many unpleasant things Gruber is, he is a soothsayer. He never lied.
EXCLUSIVE: A former charity executive who helped expose a questionable $500,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation is now being threatened by her old bosses with a lawsuit seeking tens of thousands of dollars, FoxNews.com has learned.
Sue Veres Royal, former executive director at the Happy Hearts Fund, was initially quoted in a May 29 New York Times article that said the charity lured Bill Clinton to a 2014 gala only after offering a $500,000 donation to The Clinton Foundation. His office previously had turned down the charity’s invitations, but this time he accepted; the accompanying donation amounted to almost a quarter of the gala’s net proceeds.
Veres Royal, who spoke to FoxNews.com about the fallout from that report, is now embroiled in a legal battle with the charity. She filed a formal complaint June 4 with the New York attorney general’s Charities Bureau, as the charity itself threatened her with legal action for allegedly breaking her confidentiality agreement.
Veres Royal said she was appalled not only by the 2014 Clinton donation but by details she had not known before the Times report was published — most notably that the $500,000, which was supposed to go to causes in the ravaged country of Haiti, still had not been earmarked for any particular project by The Clinton Foundation.
“It’s disgusting to me that this organization is being used in this way,” Veres Royal said. “I have been to Haiti three times. I’ve seen how desperate the need is, and it’s disgusting to me that people are trying to do good while they’re sitting on half-a-million dollars. I think that’s a disservice to those people who have donated the money, and to the people of Haiti.”
Ah yes, “the people of Haiti”. The phrase conjures images of a somewhat primitive folk, wearing bright colors, harboring dark superstitions. Why do bad things always happen to them? The Clintons steal from their collection plate; the Dominican Republic evicts their refugees; even the UN sh*ts in their drinking water (and is immune from prosecution for introducing the charms of cholera to an already bedraggled people).
You’ve got Bono, Jay-Z, and Rihanna singing your praises, and you’re still such a mess? I write this love, mes amis Hatiens, but maybe you need to look in a mirror (if any are left after the earthquake). They say no one can take advantage of you without your permission.
It seems like only yesterday (because it was) that we reported on the $300,000,000 boondoggle in the Social Security System—and the beat-down the whistleblower received from Obama admin higher-ups for telling the truth.
The federal government cannot verify nearly $3 billion in subsidies distributed through ObamaCare, putting significant taxpayer funding “at risk,” according to a new audit report.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released an audit Tuesday finding that the agency did not have an internal system to ensure that subsidies went to the right enrollees, or in the correct amounts.
“[The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] CMS’s internal controls did not effectively ensure the accuracy of nearly $2.8 billion in aggregate financial assistance payments made to insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act during the first four months that these payments were made,” the OIG said.
“CMS’s system of internal controls could not ensure that CMS made correct financial assistance payments,” they said.
Note that OIG doesn’t say for sure we’ve blown the better part of $3 billion—sorry, $3,000,000,000 (give or take a ,000 or two). OIG says nobody has a fu**ing clue where the money went:
The audit found that CMS did not have a process to “prevent or detect any possible substantial errors” in subsidy payments.
Now keep in mind that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, ObamaCare paid out a total of $17 billion in subsidies for all of last year.
So that means HHS can’t be sure whether 16% of its subsidy checks were in the correct amounts. Even for government work, this is bad.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs ObamaCare, brushed off the audit, saying it “takes the stewardship of tax dollars seriously.” If that were true, it would have had the proper controls in place before the first person logged onto the Healthcare.gov site.
Instead, despite spending roughly $2 billion on the Healthcare.gov echange, the “back end” — which was supposed to automatically figure out subsidy payments to be paid to insurers on behalf of enrollees who qualified for them — remains unfinished.
In fact, HHS now says that, with just a few months before ObamaCare’s third “open enrollment” starts, it has only managed to get to the “pilot testing” phase.
All of this probably comes as news to most people in the country, because the mainstream press didn’t bother to report the audit’s findings.
We’ve been reading—and sharing—these whispers of errors and inconsistencies at the “back end” of the site (the whole site is one big “back end”, if you receive my meaning). But we had faith that the site, in the president’s words, was working “flawlessly”.
Let me observe that the Supreme Court is ready to announce any day what the gazillion-page health insurance nationalization that our caudillo oversees as his daily whims direct means when it says “state”. Did they mean Nebraska and New Hampshire, or did they mean the federal government (as in stadt)? This won’t help their chances.