The Character Deficit

The Character Deficit

By Steve McCann

When the framers of the United States Constitution completed their work in 1787, they acknowledged that the success and future of the republic as established by that document was dependent on the honor and integrity of its leaders and citizens.  As John Adams wrote: “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Today, the Obama administration, the majority of the members of Congress, much of the Judiciary, academia, and the media represent the culmination of the degradation of ethics and character, which has put the United States in the nearly inevitable position of joining the annals of the rise and fall of great nations.
The die was cast in the early part of the 20th century, when Congress and the president discovered that they could bribe the public with the public’s money. The focus of politics began to shift from public service and adherence to the Constitution to seeking, centralizing, and maintaining power, as well as amassing individual wealth. 
The seizure and preservation of power was made possible by promising the American people economic security in exchange for their votes. Society and government thus began the long, steady process of compromising the age-old standards of ethics, honesty, and integrity, which are based on Judeo-Christian teachings.
Each step down that road was justified as a moral or societal imperative (such as re-defining a “right”), or else necessary to save people from themselves.
As government became more intrusive and centralized, the heady tonic of near-omnipotent authority and adulation moved many in politics to do or say anything necessary to preserve or achieve elected office.
In the field of education, it became a requisite to teach that there are no absolutes and no moral or ethical guidelines except to do whatever makes one “happy.” Any problems simply create demand for new programs, which furthers the consolidation of authority in the hands of a few. Any mention of God was eliminated, as religious values undermine the process of corrupting and re-making society.
The mainstream media, once the watchdog of government wrongdoing, has been captured by ideology, lifestyle, and the need for celebrity status. Thus, to the vast majority in that profession, it is more important to be in the thrall of whatever is fashionable as established by the media elites than uphold the traditions of honest newsgathering.
To all these groups, truth and facts have become casualties replaced by outright lies or obfuscations euphemistically referred to as “spin.” This gradual degradation of integrity and ethical standards has allowed for the acceptance of a philosophy espoused by despots throughout history, one that forms the underpinning of the character of President Obama, his administration, a majority in Congress, and an unfortunate plurality among the general public.
The doctrine of “the end justifies the means” represents the epitome of corruption in any society and the ultimate demise of that same society. Any leader within government or the national community at large who is captive to this thinking must by necessity be devoid of ethics, integrity, or morals.
Such people must be willing, as was President Obama, to lie to achieve their ends, like with the deliberate falsehoods, obfuscations, and manipulation of data that took place during the passage of health care and other legislation.
They must be willing to flout the rule of law and the Constitution, as President Obama did, in the takeover of General Motors, Chrysler, the banks, insurance companies, and the appointment of numerous “czars” in avoidance of Congressional approval.
They must be willing to use the power of the government, as the president has done, to threaten, blackmail, and intimidate political and media critics, and to shake down private enterprise for support and financial contributions.
They must be willing through inconceivable but deliberate levels of deficit spending to place the country on a collision course with national bankruptcy, as President Obama is doing, in order to advance a radical agenda the citizens do not want or need.
Recently, much has been made of the lack of leadership displayed by the president. Many point to his inexperience in executive management. However, as former President Dwight Eisenhower once said, “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity.” The current occupant of the White House is bereft of that quality.
A national leader without honor and integrity cannot be trusted; he cannot act in the best interest of others, but only of himself. He is captive to ideology and incapable of change as he surrounds himself with sycophantic philosophical soul mates. He cannot abide criticism, constructive or otherwise, as he will always view it through the lens of personal insecurity, thus truth for him becomes a casualty of unrestrained narcissism. He cannot assume responsibility for failure and must look for others to blame. Regardless of whether a person has had executive experience or not, without honor and integrity as the foundation of his character, failure and further erosion of the future of the country will follow in his footsteps.
The United States is staring into an abyss unimagined fifteen, twenty-five or fifty years ago. The possibility that the country as it was founded 225 years ago will cease to exist is no longer the subject of fiction writers. The people of this great nation must understand that they cannot turn to the White House, Congress, academia, or the courts for solutions, as these traditional sources of leadership are not only incapable of providing it, but are the catalyst for the country’s potential demise.
The survival of the Republic is in the hands of the citizens. Their understanding of the future and the steps necessary to avoid disaster is critical. They must not only elect representatives with integrity and character, but recognize the importance of those traits in their own lives and in society as a whole. If they don’t, then the United States will become a permanently indentured and second-tier country.

REPUBLICANS PLAN TO HIRE DOZENS OF INVESTIGATORS TO TARGET OBAMA…

Issa has eye on subpoena team
By: James Hohmann and Jake Sherman
June 18, 2010 04:35 AM EDT
HERSHEY, Pa.— Rep. Darrell Issa, the conservative firebrand whose specialty is lobbing corruption allegations at the Obama White House, is making plans to hire dozens of subpoena-wielding investigators if Republicans win the House this fall. 

The California Republican’s daily denunciations draw cheers from partisans and bookings from cable TV producers. He even bought his own earphone for live shots. But his bombastic style and attention-seeking investigations draw eye rolls from other quarters. Now, he’s making clear he won’t be so easy to shrug off if he becomes chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2011. 

Issa has told Republican leadership that if he becomes chairman, he wants to roughly double his staff from 40 to between 70 and 80. And he is not subtle about what that means for President Barack Obama. 

At a recent speech to Pennsylvania Republicans here, he boasted about what would happen if the GOP wins 39 seats, and he gets the power to subpoena. 

“That will make all the difference in the world,” he told 400 applauding party members during a dinner at the chocolate-themed Hershey Lodge. “I won’t use it to have corporate America live in fear that we’re going to subpoena everything. I will use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing.” 

In other words, Issa wants to be to the Obama administration what Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) was to the Clinton administration — a subpoena machine in search of White House scandals. 

Even if Republicans don’t take the House, Issa has other ambitions. Those close to him say he is eyeing a potential run for a leadership post, even though he’s a two-time loser for Republican policy chairman. 

Issa also is trying to build his national brand, traveling to Pennsylvania for a summer Republican meeting. He basked in praise for his role in creating “Job-gate,” a mini scandal that forced the White House to admit that former President Bill Clinton tried to coax Rep. Joe Sestak out of the Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania by offering him an unpaid job. 

After calling the White House “corrupt” and Obama’s presidency “failed,” Issa reiterated his claims that — despite a contrary assessment from most experts — the administration violated federal law with the Sestak imbroglio. 

He also mentioned e-mail from White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina to Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff about three possible administration jobs as the administration apparently tried to steer him away from a primary challenge against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

 

Many Democrats — and, truth be told, even a few Republicans in the House — regard Issa as something of a clownish figure, full of bluster and a perfect representative of an age of polarized, cable TV-driven politics. He once asked a reporter what planet he was on when he questioned one of Issa’s assertions.

But some Democratic operatives think colleagues are underestimating the threat: A clown with subpoena power is no laughing matter. Issa would have the ability to barrage the White House and executive agencies with document requests and demands for officials to appear under oath.
“He’s very dangerous,” said a Democratic House aide. “He doesn’t have any parameters. He’s scary smart.”

Lately, Democratic apparatchiks have started flooding reporters with thick files of old articles referring to run-ins with the law during Issa’s youth. Democrats also recently shopped a 12-year-old news story about Issa’s inconsistencies in discussing his military service during a 1998 campaign.
Even with control of the House, Republicans won’t be able to easily pass their agenda into law, since the GOP is unlikely to win the Senate and would face a presidential veto on their most sweeping agenda items.

That’s actually good for Issa. With little policy work to get done, Republicans would focus on fighting and investigating Obama.

Issa is temperamentally suited for the role. He doesn’t mind making enemies, he’s in a very safe district and he craves publicity. With his slicked-back black hair, his BMW motorcycle and his net worth of more than $150 million, Issa fashions himself a rebel with a cause.

Issa already brought down a governor. Seven years ago, he financed and spearheaded the successful drive to collect petitions to recall then-California Gov. Gray Davis. He didn’t achieve his goal going in — to replace the Democrat — but he made a name for himself in the Golden State.
Issa frequently reminds reporters that he has bashed Republicans too. He pushed legislation to restrict fundraising mailers that look like the census after the Republican National Committee used the tactic. And he proudly told the crowd that he resisted pressure from the Bush White House to drop his California recall push on grounds that an unpopular incumbent Democrat could help a Republican’s electoral chances.

And it’s not like Issa would be unique in using the Oversight panel as a bully pulpit.

 

Most recently, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) held the Bush administration’s feet to the fire when he chaired the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He aggressively pressed the White House for information about U.S. attorney firings, demanded details about the use by Bush aides of private e-mail accounts, held a hearing on the disclosure of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity and published a report on administration officials’ misstatements about Iraq.

Waxman takes a somewhat wait-and-see approach with Issa, saying he hasn’t followed his work as closely since he left to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee. He praised Issa for being “involved in some serious oversight” with the current committee chairman, Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.).

However, Waxman criticized Issa’s recent request for administration travel statements. “That isn’t oversight, as far as I’m concerned,” he told POLITICO. “That’s a fishing expedition. We never did things like that.”

As the committee’s chairman from 1997 to 2002, Burton issued 1,052 subpoenas to the Clinton White House and various Democrats. And he took heat for calling Clinton “a scumbag” and for releasing audiotapes of former White House lawyer Webster Hubbell’s prison telephone conversations.

Burton, who is still on the committee, sees Issa as possibly continuing his work.

“When you go after bad guys who do bad things, you’re going to be criticized,” he said in an interview. “That comes with the territory. But I’ll take somebody like Darrell Issa to milquetoast any day.”

Issa’s accomplishments in the past year also include pressing embattled insurance giant American International Group to release records about payments to Goldman Sachs, uncovering irregularities at ACORN, publicizing pornographic-laden e-mails at the Securities and Exchange Commission and memorably scolding the chief executive of Toyota.

It’s tarring Obama, though, that endears him to tea partiers. Patti Weaver, who has organized rallies in Pittsburgh, said Issa is becoming one of the central characters in Washington that conservative activists admire. She groups him with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) — all rabble-rousers in their own right.

Yet, for all his cable news prowess and an aggressive press operation, Issa’s still not a celebrity within the Republican establishment. Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Rob Gleason introduced their guest speaker for the night as “Dan Issa.”

That didn’t bother press secretary Kurt Bardella. He updated his Facebook status after the speech: “Something tells me this is just the start of Issa’s outreach to the party and the country.”

“Kick-Ass” Progressive Government

“Kick-Ass” Progressive Government


Obama and his ultra-liberal friends have discovered that “hope ‘n change” isn’t easy. Oil spills and Tea Partiers get in the way…
Obama:
“Some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying ‘do something’ are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much… Some of the same people who are saying the president needs to show leadership and solve this problem are some of the same folks who, just a few months ago, were saying this guy is trying to engineer a takeover of our society through the federal government that is going to restrict our freedoms.”
Obama’s hypocrisy charge is so obtuse, only his stupidest cheerleaders are going to be impressed with it. Conservatives are not anarchists. Constrained, efficient and responsive government is the conservative ideal.
If ever there were a situation for which involvement of the federal government would be appropriate from the conservative standpoint, the gulf oil spill would be it. The vast majority of people on both halves of the political spectrum understand that intuitively.
A catastrophic environmental disaster involving several U.S. states, a site leased from the U.S. government, and a multi-national corporation ― the federal government clearly has a role. The feds could at least be clearing the way for help from international skimming ships.
Now is not the time for Obama and his statist allies to quibble with tea partiers about perceptions of hypocrisy. This is Obama’s opportunity to lead, and to show us that his kick-ass progressive government can get the job done. So far…epic failure.
Rather than rising above the fray, POTUS is pointing his finger at the people who have dared to complain.

Fantasy as Strategy

Fantasy as Strategy

Posted By Alan W. Dowd On June 15, 2010 @ 12:26 am In FrontPage | 12 Comments

As required by law, President Barack Obama released his National Security Strategy (NSS) late last month. Regrettably, the document doesn’t address the nation’s security challenges particularly well and doesn’t offer much of a strategy. Instead, it glosses over some of the most serious threats, fails to present a real roadmap for navigating the world’s many danger zones, and offers diplomatic bromides and observations of the obvious.

Take, for example, the document’s discussion of the U.S.-Canada relationship. Although previous NSS documents didn’t devote large amounts of ink to Canada, they offered seasoned assessments of this priority partnership. Obama’s NSS, on the other hand, informs Americans that “Canada is our closest trading partner, a steadfast security ally and an important partner in regional and global efforts.” With a brief mention of NAFTA trade flows, the NSS declares, clumsily, “We must change the way we think about our shared borders, in order to secure and expedite the lawful and legitimate flow of people and goods while interdicting transnational threat (sic) that threaten our open societies.”

That’s about it—no description of what that change would entail, no vision of how to expand security cooperation or deepen trade, no discussion of how to deflect encroaching threats in the Arctic or Pacific.

But there’s more—or less, as it were.

Aside from references to America’s terrorist enemies, the NSS takes great pains to avoid labeling enemy regimes what they are. To be sure, there are vague mentions of “adversarial governments” and “states [that] endanger regional and global security by flouting interna­tional norms.” But regimes like North Korea and Iran are never called enemies, even though that’s undeniably what they are and what they desire to be.

North Korea, which during the Obama administration has detonated a nuclear weapon and torpedoed a South Korean ship operating in international waters, is mentioned in the blandest of terms. Iran is meekly called to task for not being “responsible.” Iran, it pays to recall, is arming insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan who are killing American troops; funneling aid and weapons to Hezbollah; and building a nuclear arsenal of its own, in violation of IAEA demands.

The NSS challenges the international community to present “a clear choice to Iran and North Korea” and threatens “greater isolation” for these twin rogues. This isn’t much of a strategy, and if it is a strategy, it’s not working. In fact, these regimes have already made their choice—emphatically and repeatedly. And the threat of greater isolation means nothing to a North Korea that has been isolated for the better part of 60 years or an Iran that has built bridges to Europe, Asia and South America. In this regard, it’s worth noting that Iran’s response to the latest round of largely voluntary [1] and hence toothless UN sanctions was to declare, “These sanctions are like used tissues which should be thrown in the trash.”

Speaking of the UN, Obama’s NSS talks about the need for a stronger UN, one that is “capable of fulfilling its founding purpose” and ensuring the “rules of the road” are followed. Of course, North Korea and Iran don’t follow those rules. And the UN is simply unable—perhaps systemically unable—to make them follow the rules, as Obama should know after 17 months of watching the UN do absolutely nothing to constrain Iran or punish North Korea. These 17 months follow decades of UN failure, the only exceptions being the Gulf War of 1990-91 and what might soon be called the first Korean War (more on this below).

Yet Obama’s NSS declares, “When nations breach agreed international norms, the countries who espouse those norms must be convinced to band together to enforce them…Strengthening the legitimacy and authority of international law and institutions, especially the UN, will require a constant struggle to improve performance.”

At best, this is fuzzy and flimsy undergraduate poli-sci rhetoric masquerading as strategy. At worst, it fails to grasp reality. Speaking of which, Obama’s NSS has the audacity to say “we need to be clear-eyed about the strengths and shortcomings of international institutions.”

One of those countless shortcomings is that the UN never does what it promises to do—whether the U.S. plays nice and genuflects at the altars of soft power, as during the Obama administration, or plays hard ball, as during the Bush administration.  The Washington Post has noticed [2]: “How could an administration that first tried reaching out to Iran and then spent months working with its allies end up with less international unity than when George W. Bush was president?”

Moving on, Obama’s NSS laments that “the advance of democracy and human rights has stalled in many parts of the world” and affirms that “the United States supports those who seek to exercise universal rights around the world”—but very quietly, as we learned last summer during the failed Twitter Revolution in Iran. The sad irony about Obama’s silence during the abortive democratic revolution in Iran was that it answered his own rhetorical question of a year before, albeit in a manner his supporters would never have imagined: “Will we stand for the human rights of…the blogger in Iran?” he asked during his 2008 speech in Berlin. The Iranian people know the answer.

These sorts of inconsistencies abound in Obama’s NSS. For example, even while it implicitly criticizes the Bush administration’s democracy-building project—the NSS sneers about “an endless campaign to impose our values”—it vows to “strengthen Pakistan’s democracy,” support Afghanistan’s democratic experiment and “foster” democracy in Iraq.

The NSS, to the president’s credit, declares that “for nearly a decade the nation has been at war with a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” Most Americans agree with that characterization, but the Obama administration didn’t, at least not during its first year in office. In fact, this administration made a concerted effort to expunge the “war on terrorism” phraseology from official pronouncements, using the banal, bland and bureaucratic “overseas contingency operations” instead. Obama’s secretary of homeland security even went so far as to use the Orwellian phrase “man-caused disasters” rather than call terrorism by its name.

In keeping with that mindset, Obama’s NSS is quick to add, “This is not a global war against a tactic—terrorism—or a religion—Islam…We are at war with a specific network, al-Qaeda, and its terrorist affiliates who support efforts to attack the United States, our allies and partners.”

Obama’s NSS spends far too much time discussing the president’s domestic policy priorities, especially education and health care. These are important issues, but they are simply not matters of national security. Moreover, part the document’s discussion of education makes little sense. Specifically, the NSS promises to “restore U.S. leadership in higher education.” Yet a global survey of universities conducted by the London-based Q.S. Education Trust concludes that six of the top 10 universities on earth, 14 of the top 25 and 37 of the top 100 call America home. Harvard is number one.

That brings us to what can politely be called “eye-rollers” in the Obama NSS:

-It announces the pressing need to reduce the deficit, as if the Obama administration didn’t push federal spending and deficits to levels not seen since World War II.

-It calls for “effective border security and immigration enforcement” to “keep the country safe and deter unlawful entry.” Ask the people and governor of Arizona how farcical that statement is.

-It talks about the need to “promote security and stability in space…[and] maintain the advantages afforded to the United States by space.” One wonders how shutting down the shuttle’s replacement [3] achieves that.

-It tells us “there is no greater threat to the American people than weapons of mass destruction, particularly the danger posed by the pursuit of nuclear weapons by violent extremists and their proliferation to additional states.” Obama’s solution? The U.S. and other Western powers—none of whom have transferred nuclear weapons to violent extremists—are cutting their nuclear arsenals.

-It promises that “a world without nuclear weapons…will increase global security.” As a matter of fact, nukes have promoted global stability, enhanced U.S. security and prevented world war for 65 years. Remember, in the pre-nuclear age, we fought two world wars in the span of 20 years.

-It claims the foundation of “regional and global security will remain America’s relations with our allies, and our commitment to their security is unshakable.” Tell that to the Czechs and Poles, who exposed themselves to great risk by offering to host U.S. missile-defense assets, only to have the Obama administration jettison the NATO-endorsed plan; or the British, who weren’t consulted about the Obama administration’s decision to offload a handful of Gitmo detainees onto the British colony of Bermuda; or the Israelis, who are publicly shamed and privately lectured for defending themselves; or the fragile democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan, where America’s “unshakable” commitment has a timetable.

-It promises “a greater emphasis on exports,” yet this administration has done the very opposite in practice. It pays to recall that Obama has not called on Congress to approve free trade agreements with Colombia and South Korea—agreements that have languished since the Bush administration.

-It offers a number of implicit criticisms of the Bush administration, especially in relation to the war on terrorism and Obama’s definition of the rule of law. Striding up the high ground, Obama uses his NSS to promise “a commitment to pursue justice consistent with our Constitution.” “Our moral leadership is grounded principally in the power of our example,” the NSS declares. “Over the years, some methods employed in pursuit of our security have compromised our fidelity to the values that we promote.” Yet Obama’s drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which most Americans recognize as an essential element in the wider campaign against terror, are, in effect, executions [4] without trial. This is not to criticize the president’s drone war, but rather to point out the president’s messaging problem.

-It claims, “We succeeded in the post-World War II era by pursuing our interests within multilateral forums like the United Nations.” This is simply not true. Only once during the Cold War was the UN effective in promoting U.S. security interests in a direct way—during the Korean War—and then only because the Soviets were absent from the Security Council. They never made that mistake again. Indeed, the very thing that protects the U.S. from UN encroachment—veto authority—is what prevents the U.S. from pursuing its interests within the UN Security Council.

-Finally, it laments that “common purpose is at times lacking in our national security dialogue. This division places the United States at a strategic disadvantage. It sets back our ability to deal with difficult challenges and injects a sense of anxiety and polarization into our politics that can affect our policies and our posture around the world. It must be replaced by a renewed sense of civility and a commitment to embrace our common purpose as Americans.”

Many of us said very similar things when the Bush administration begged for unity as Iraq unraveled, when congressmen and senators who once supported the war walked away, when newspapers outed classified programs that had kept the country safe from another 9/11, when the anti-war left made the president the enemy and smeared battlefield commanders as betrayers [5], when would-be presidents declared the surge a failure [6] even before it had taken hold.

Unlike Obama’s supporters, some of whom wanted Bush to fail, I hope this commander-in-chief succeeds at protecting America. I hope he wins what really is a war on terrorism, faces down the thugocracies in North Korea and Iran, and stands up to China and Russia. But sadly, this NSS misses the mark.

Alan W. Dowd writes on defense and security issues.

Obama’s Treachery

Obama’s Treachery

By Geoffrey P. Hunt

Obama’s White  House stands accused of tampering with U.S. Senate primary elections involving Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and Andrew Romanoff in Colorado. Both Democratic primary challengers apparently were urged to drop out of their races by White House operatives in exchange for a job. The details remain murky as storylines from White House officials, along with Sestak and Romanoff  themselves, are both evasive and implausible. But this much is clear: Election tampering by Obama treads upon the very foundation of American exceptionalism — free elections in a representative democracy. 
Cynics and apologists alike brush aside this scandal. It’s business as usual, both political parties do it, you have to be naïve to believe this kind of electioneering is rare. In fact, Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania, on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace, had the gall to assert that this kind of election manipulation shows presidential leadership in getting things done.
Well, election tampering and transparent corruption are not business as usual unless you’re a Democrat. Whether it be suppression of the black vote in the south for a hundred years after the Civil War, Tammany Hall politics at the turn of the 20th century in New York, machine politics in Chicago, or bribes and payoffs for votes on health care and stimulus funding, the failure to prosecute polling place intimidation by the Black Panthers in Philadelphia or Acorn voter registration fraud, this is the Democratic Party Way, the Obama Way.
In a quote attributed to Robert Gibbs, Obama’s mouthpiece, “The White House has a legitimate interest in avoiding messy Democratic Party primaries. … Presidents, as leaders of their parties, have long had an interest in ensuring that supporters didn’t run against each other in contested elections.” Oh really? Should presidents bribe rivals to get them out of the way?
Indeed, free elections are messy. President Obama himself said so in his commencement address this year at the University of Michigan: “U.S. politics long has been noisy and messy, contentious, complicated” — a repeat of lines in his 2010 State of the Union, “Democracy in a nation of 300 million people can be noisy and messy and complicated. And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy. That’s just how it is.” 
Apparently it’s too messy, excessively contentious, and inconveniently complicated for Obama and his operatives to honor the bedrock principle in American governance.
The Founders, especially James Madison, had great difficulty with direct democracy for good reason. Representative democracy instead offered stability and a check against mob rule. And a greater number of representatives would be an inoculation against corruption by the cabal of too few. But a reliance on representative democracy placed a heavy burden on the process of electing those representatives. “[S]uffrages of the people being more free, will be more likely to centre in men who possess the most attractive merit and the most diffusive and established characters” (From the Federalist No. 10).
The symbolism of free elections in a representative democracy is best depicted in the 1851 painting The County Election by Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham, now owned by and displayed in the St. Louis Art Museum.

 
Bingham, who painted a series of mid-19th-century political scenes, shows a typical small-town election somewhere in rural America. This painting evokes the characteristic ritual of American representative democracy, free exercise of suffrage. Of course, in 1851, universal suffrage was not yet the norm. Yet the scene evokes a “noisy, messy, contentious, and complicated process,” as Obama would say. Simultaneously subtle and athletic — with suasion and vote-prodding from a snort of hard cider, heated words, raised voices, muscular posturing, and even a newspaper editor’s rant. 
And despite the sweaty, dusty, and strong breath elements of electioneering, the sacred ritual of a fully accessible process — even Election Day mischief-making and influence-peddling, but all in the open, where voters can actually cast a ballot for their choices — is at the heart of the American system of governance.
Obama, riding the wave of a popular coronation, has been imposing governance through the raw power of an unbridled majority and has little patience for this sort of pluralism, especially when it interferes with his agenda. It’s hard to imagine Obama endorsing Bingham’s brand of representative democracy.
Obama’s hollow complaints against assaults on democracy, notably his condemnation of the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United vs FEC during his State of the Union address, are hailed by his Democratic Party bedfellows. Yet how easy it is for these same party hacks and shameless partisans to either ignore or rationalize Obama’s own assault on democracy when he manipulates federal election primaries.
Since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed — and, by the way, was enabled by a far greater proportion of Republican than Democrat U.S. senators — Democrats and liberals have been grandstanding self-promoters decrying voter disenfranchisement. But where is this purity of process when it comes to arriving at the actual names on the ballot?
And who are now the champions of suppressing free speech through revival of the Fairness Doctrine and eliminating the U.S. Senate rules on the filibuster and cloture? The Democrats. Who are now advocating the regulation of journalism through the Federal Trade Commission? The Democrats.
Obama and his operatives cannot escape the stench from their wholesale corruption of American governance. And their amateurish bungling is neither amusing nor defensible. Tampering with federal elections is only the latest in long line of brazen, cynical manipulations. Only a few among today’s political class, notably Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), have the courage to call out such treachery by demanding an independent inquiry. How long will their courage hold out?

Cited: ‘Prima facie’ evidence of White House violations

Cited: ‘Prima facie’ evidence of White House violations

June 11th, 2010

By Bob Unruh, WND

 Rahm and Obama most likely broke some law

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and one of his top aides, Jim Messina, have been referred to the government’s Office of Special Counsel for an investigation into whether they violated the Hatch Act by offering administration jobs to two political candidates in exchange for dropping out of their races.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, wrote in letters to William Reukauf, the acting U.S. special counsel, that the statements by the White House and the two candidates involved – Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff – are “prima facie” evidence of violations.

The act prohibits “the use of official authority or influence by federal employees for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election,” Issa’s letters dated yesterday – one referring Emanuel and one referring Messina – explained.

“In the White House’s June 3, 2010, public statement, Mr. [Robert] Gibbs claimed that clearing the field for a candidate preferred by the White House was not problematic because ‘there was no offer of a job.’ There is evidence to the contrary,” wrote Issa.

Read More:

Sarah Palin on Obama II: “It Sounds Like the Inner Circle He Has Are Some Chicago Thugs & That’s Not Doing Our Country Much Good” (Video)

 

Posted by Jim Hoft on Wednesday, June 9, 2010, 8:38 PM

Sarah Palin was at her best tonight on Hannity.
She dropped the “community organizer” tag and “Chicago thug” line all in the same answer .
It was music to the ears.

Sarah Palin on Obama’s Top Advisors:
“It sounds like the inner circle he has around him are some Chicago thugs… And, that’s not doing our country that much good.”
True.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfoHcr2gDDo&feature=player_embedded

Obama’s Summer of Corruption

Obama’s Summer of Corruption

Posted By Michelle Malkin On June 9, 2010 @ 12:03 am In FrontPage |

In Chicago politics, there’s an old term for the publicly subsidized pay-offs and positions meted out to the corruptocrats’ friends and special interests: boodle.

In the age of Obama, Hope and Change is all about the boodle. So it was with the stimulus. And the massive national service expansion. And the health care bill. And the financial reform bill. And the blossoming job-trading scandals engulfing the White House.

There’s always been an ageless, interdependent relationship between Windy City politicos and “goo-goos” (the cynical Chicago term for good government reformers). Chicago-style “reform” has always entailed the redistribution of wealth and power under the guise of public service. And it has inevitably led to more corruption.

In March 2010, this column first took note of allegations by Democrats Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff that the White House had offered them jobs in exchange for dropping their respective bids against Obama-favored incumbent Sens. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania and Michael Bennet in Colorado. White House legal counsel Bob “The Fixer” Bauer’s attempt to bury questions about the Sestak affair with a Memorial Day weekend document dump failed. So has the attempt to make Rahm Emanuel-enlisted former president Bill Clinton the sole scapegoat.

Bauer’s memo mentions “efforts” (plural, not singular) to woo Sestak. But the White House refuses to divulge what offers besides Clinton’s were extended to Sestak. Moreover, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has now denied that Team Obama was involved in the one Clinton offer that has been publicized — an unpaid appointment on an intelligence board for which Sestak was ineligible.

After months of silence, Romanoff finally stepped forward last week to acknowledge that the White House had dangled several positions before him, too. He released e-mails detailing not one, not two, but three different paid positions offered by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina — whose boss, Emanuel, was subpoenaed this week by impeached former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois to testify in his Senate pay-for-play corruption trial.

So, can I say “I told you so” now?

In July 2009, when “Culture of Corruption” was first released, liberal critics scoffed:

How could you possibly write a 400-page book about Barack Obama’s rotten administration when he’s only been in office six months?!

When I proceeded to rattle off case after case of Chicago-style back-scratching, transparency-trampling and crooked special interest-dealing in the new White House, liberal critics such as “The View’s” Joy Behar interjected:

B-b-b-but what about Bush? Why don’t you write a book about Bush? Wha-’bout-Bush? Wha-’bout-Bush? Wha-’bout-Bush?

When I pointed out that I had reported extensively on cronyism in the Bush era (see Harriet Miers, FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security), and when I further pointed out that while the Bush-bashing market overflowed, there remained a massive vacuum of critical analysis of Obama, liberal critics sputtered:

So what? Doesn’t every administration have corruption?

When I patiently explained that no other administration in modern American history had set itself up as loftily as the Hope and Change reformers had done, or when I cited endless examples of Obama’s broken promises on everything from lobbyists to transparency to Washington business as usual, liberal critics changed the subject again:

RACIST FASCIST EVIL FOX NEWS RIGHT-WING HATE MONGER!

Two major job-trading scandals plus the start of the Blago trial this past week — on top of a year’s worth of uninhibited White House wheeling and dealing, broken transparency pledges, Justice Department stonewalling and brass knuckle-bullying of political opponents — have finally turned the once-derided thesis of my book “Culture of Corruption” into conventional wisdom.

Obama sold America a Chicago-tainted bill of goods. A nation of slow learners is finally figuring it out.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com

Misdemeanors – or crimes?

Misdemeanors – or crimes?

June 8th, 2010

By Patrick Buchanan, WND

 

On this matter of offering federal jobs to potential candidates to induce them not to run against Senate Democratic incumbents, this White House is drifting dangerously close to the falls.

Colorado’s Andrew Romanoff has now confirmed that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina trolled three federal jobs in front of him, if he would desist and not run against incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet.

And Romanoff has produced an e-mail where Messina presents the three-job menu, one of which might be his if he passed up the Senate run. Two were with the Agency for International Development. The third was director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

All three are juicy plums.

Romanoff and Messina both say no hard offer was made. And Robert Gibbs has assured the press the president had no idea Messina was talking to Romanoff about federal jobs that only Obama can fill.

But if Obama knew nothing of the Messina-Romanoff talks, who did? For Messina cannot appoint anyone to anything. Has Messina’s boss, Rahm Emanuel, been given the franchise to offer a dessert tray of federal jobs to people he wants to keep out of Democratic primaries?

An independent investigation needs to be conducted to determine whether Chicago-style politics has been introduced into the West Wing.

Read More:

Judicial Watch Announces List of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” for 2009

  Judicial Watch Announces List of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” for 2009

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DCJudicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its 2009 list of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians.” The list, in alphabetical order, includes:

  1. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT): This marks two years in a row for Senator Dodd, who made the 2008 “Ten Most Corrupt” list for his corrupt relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and for accepting preferential treatment and loan terms from Countrywide Financial, a scandal which still dogs him. In 2009, the scandals kept coming for the Connecticut Democrat. In 2009, Judicial Watch filed a Senate ethics complaint against Dodd for undervaluing a property he owns in Ireland on his Senate Financial Disclosure forms. Judicial Watch’s complaint forced Dodd to amend the forms. However, press reports suggest the property to this day remains undervalued. Judicial Watch also alleges in the complaint that Dodd obtained a sweetheart deal for the property in exchange for his assistance in obtaining a presidential pardon (during the Clinton administration) and other favors for a long-time friend and business associate. The false financial disclosure forms were part of the cover-up. Dodd remains the head the Senate Banking Committee.
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  3. Senator John Ensign (R-NV): A number of scandals popped up in 2009 involving public officials who conducted illicit affairs, and then attempted to cover them up with hush payments and favors, an obvious abuse of power. The year’s worst offender might just be Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign. Ensign admitted in June to an extramarital affair with the wife of one of his staff members, who then allegedly obtained special favors from the Nevada Republican in exchange for his silence. According to The New York Times: “The Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee are expected to conduct preliminary inquiries into whether Senator John Ensign violated federal law or ethics rules as part of an effort to conceal an affair with the wife of an aide…” The former staffer, Douglas Hampton, began to lobby Mr. Ensign’s office immediately upon leaving his congressional job, despite the fact that he was subject to a one-year lobbying ban. Ensign seems to have ignored the law and allowed Hampton lobbying access to his office as a payment for his silence about the affair. (These are potentially criminal offenses.) It looks as if Ensign misused his public office (and taxpayer resources) to cover up his sexual shenanigans.
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  5. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): Judicial Watch is investigating a $12 million TARP cash injection provided to the Boston-based OneUnited Bank at the urging of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank. As reported in the January 22, 2009, edition of the Wall Street Journal, the Treasury Department indicated it would only provide funds to healthy banks to jump-start lending. Not only was OneUnited Bank in massive financial turmoil, but it was also “under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives’ use.” Rep. Frank admitted he spoke to a “federal regulator,” and Treasury granted the funds. (The bank continues to flounder despite Frank’s intervention for federal dollars.) Moreover, Judicial Watch uncovered documents in 2009 that showed that members of Congress for years were aware that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were playing fast and loose with accounting issues, risk assessment issues and executive compensation issues, even as liberals led by Rep. Frank continued to block attempts to rein in the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). For example, during a hearing on September 10, 2003, before the House Committee on Financial Services considering a Bush administration proposal to further regulate Fannie and Freddie, Rep. Frank stated: “I want to begin by saying that I am glad to consider the legislation, but I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis. That is, in my view, the two Government Sponsored Enterprises we are talking about here, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not in a crisis. We have recently had an accounting problem with Freddie Mac that has led to people being dismissed, as appears to be appropriate. I do not think at this point there is a problem with a threat to the Treasury.” Frank received $42,350 in campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 1989 and 2008. Frank also engaged in a relationship with a Fannie Mae Executive while serving on the House Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
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  7. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner: In 2009, Obama Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted that he failed to pay $34,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes from 2001-2004 on his lucrative salary at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization with 185 member countries that oversees the global financial system. (Did we mention Geithner now runs the IRS?) It wasn’t until President Obama tapped Geithner to head the Treasury Department that he paid back most of the money, although the IRS kindly waived the hefty penalties. In March 2009, Geithner also came under fire for his handling of the AIG bonus scandal, where the company used $165 million of its bailout funds to pay out executive bonuses, resulting in a massive public backlash. Of course as head of the New York Federal Reserve, Geithner helped craft the AIG deal in September 2008. However, when the AIG scandal broke, Geithner claimed he knew nothing of the bonuses until March 10, 2009. The timing is important. According to CNN: “Although Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders on Tuesday that he learned of AIG’s impending $160 million bonus payments to members of its troubled financial-products unit on March 10, sources tell TIME that the New York Federal Reserve informed Treasury staff that the payments were imminent on Feb. 28. That is ten days before Treasury staffers say they first learned ‘full details’ of the bonus plan, and three days before the [Obama] Administration launched a new $30 billion infusion of cash for AIG.” Throw in another embarrassing disclosure in 2009 that Geithner employed “household help” ineligible to work in the United States, and it becomes clear why the Treasury Secretary has earned a spot on the “Ten Most Corrupt Politicians in Washington” list.
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  9. Attorney General Eric Holder: Tim Geithner can be sure he won’t be hounded about his tax-dodging by his colleague Eric Holder, US Attorney General. Judicial Watch strongly opposed Holder because of his terrible ethics record, which includes: obstructing an FBI investigation of the theft of nuclear secrets from Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory; rejecting multiple requests for an independent counsel to investigate alleged fundraising abuses by then-Vice President Al Gore in the Clinton White House; undermining the criminal investigation of President Clinton by Kenneth Starr in the midst of the Lewinsky investigation; and planning the violent raid to seize then-six-year-old Elian Gonzalez at gunpoint in order to return him to Castro’s Cuba. Moreover, there is his soft record on terrorism. Holder bypassed Justice Department procedures to push through Bill Clinton’s scandalous presidential pardons and commutations, including for 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group that orchestrated approximately 120 bombings in the United States, killing at least six people and permanently maiming dozens of others, including law enforcement officers. His record in the current administration is no better. As he did during the Clinton administration, Holder continues to ignore serious incidents of corruption that could impact his political bosses at the White House. For example, Holder has refused to investigate charges that the Obama political machine traded VIP access to the White House in exchange for campaign contributions – a scheme eerily similar to one hatched by Holder’s former boss, Bill Clinton in the 1990s. The Holder Justice Department also came under fire for dropping a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. On Election Day 2008, Black Panthers dressed in paramilitary garb threatened voters as they approached polling stations. Holder has also failed to initiate a comprehensive Justice investigation of the notorious organization ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), which is closely tied to President Obama. There were allegedly more than 400,000 fraudulent ACORN voter registrations in the 2008 campaign. And then there were the journalist videos catching ACORN Housing workers advising undercover reporters on how to evade tax, immigration, and child prostitution laws. Holder’s controversial decisions on new rights for terrorists and his attacks on previous efforts to combat terrorism remind many of the fact that his former law firm has provided and continues to provide pro bono representation to terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. Holder’s politicization of the Justice Department makes one long for the days of Alberto Gonzales.
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  11. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-IL): One of the most serious scandals of 2009 involved a scheme by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to sell President Obama’s then-vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. Two men caught smack dab in the middle of the scandal: Senator Roland Burris, who ultimately got the job, and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, emissaries for Jesse Jackson Jr., named “Senate Candidate A” in the Blagojevich indictment, reportedly offered $1.5 million to Blagojevich during a fundraiser if he named Jackson Jr. to Obama’s seat. Three days later federal authorities arrested Blagojevich. Burris, for his part, apparently lied about his contacts with Blagojevich, who was arrested in December 2008 for trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat. According to Reuters: “Roland Burris came under fresh scrutiny…after disclosing he tried to raise money for the disgraced former Illinois governor who named him to the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama…In the latest of those admissions, Burris said he looked into mounting a fundraiser for Rod Blagojevich — later charged with trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat — at the same time he was expressing interest to the then-governor’s aides about his desire to be appointed.” Burris changed his story five times regarding his contacts with Blagojevich prior to the Illinois governor appointing him to the U.S. Senate. Three of those changing explanations came under oath.
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  13. President Barack Obama: During his presidential campaign, President Obama promised to run an ethical and transparent administration. However, in his first year in office, the President has delivered corruption and secrecy, bringing Chicago-style political corruption to the White House. Consider just a few Obama administration “lowlights” from year one: Even before President Obama was sworn into office, he was interviewed by the FBI for a criminal investigation of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s scheme to sell the President’s former Senate seat to the highest bidder. (Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and slumlord Valerie Jarrett, both from Chicago, are also tangled up in the Blagojevich scandal.) Moreover, the Obama administration made the startling claim that the Privacy Act does not apply to the White House. The Obama White House believes it can violate the privacy rights of American citizens without any legal consequences or accountability. President Obama boldly proclaimed that “transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,” but his administration is addicted to secrecy, stonewalling far too many of Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act requests and is refusing to make public White House visitor logs as federal law requires. The Obama administration turned the National Endowment of the Arts (as well as the agency that runs the AmeriCorps program) into propaganda machines, using tax dollars to persuade “artists” to promote the Obama agenda. According to documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the idea emerged as a direct result of the Obama campaign and enjoyed White House approval and participation. President Obama has installed a record number of “czars” in positions of power. Too many of these individuals are leftist radicals who answer to no one but the president. And too many of the czars are not subject to Senate confirmation (which raises serious constitutional questions). Under the President’s bailout schemes, the federal government continues to appropriate or control — through fiat and threats — large sectors of the private economy, prompting conservative columnist George Will to write: “The administration’s central activity — the political allocation of wealth and opportunity — is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption.” Government-run healthcare and car companies, White House coercion, uninvestigated ACORN corruption, debasing his office to help Chicago cronies, attacks on conservative media and the private sector, unprecedented and dangerous new rights for terrorists, perks for campaign donors — this is Obama’s “ethics” record — and we haven’t even gotten through the first year of his presidency.
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  15. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): At the heart of the corruption problem in Washington is a sense of entitlement. Politicians believe laws and rules (even the U.S. Constitution) apply to the rest of us but not to them. Case in point: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her excessive and boorish demands for military travel. Judicial Watch obtained documents from the Pentagon in 2009 that suggest Pelosi has been treating the Air Force like her own personal airline. These documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, include internal Pentagon email correspondence detailing attempts by Pentagon staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s 11th hour cancellations and changes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also came under fire in April 2009, when she claimed she was never briefed about the CIA’s use of the waterboarding technique during terrorism investigations. The CIA produced a report documenting a briefing with Pelosi on September 4, 2002, that suggests otherwise. Judicial Watch also obtained documents, including a CIA Inspector General report, which further confirmed that Congress was fully briefed on the enhanced interrogation techniques. Aside from her own personal transgressions, Nancy Pelosi has ignored serious incidents of corruption within her own party, including many of the individuals on this list. (See Rangel, Murtha, Jesse Jackson, Jr., etc.)
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  17. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and the rest of the PMA Seven: Rep. John Murtha made headlines in 2009 for all the wrong reasons. The Pennsylvania congressman is under federal investigation for his corrupt relationship with the now-defunct defense lobbyist PMA Group. PMA, founded by a former Murtha associate, has been the congressman’s largest campaign contributor. Since 2002, Murtha has raised $1.7 million from PMA and its clients. And what did PMA and its clients receive from Murtha in return for their generosity? Earmarks — tens of millions of dollars in earmarks. In fact, even with all of the attention surrounding his alleged influence peddling, Murtha kept at it. Following an FBI raid of PMA’s offices earlier in 2009, Murtha continued to seek congressional earmarks for PMA clients, while also hitting them up for campaign contributions. According to The Hill, in April, “Murtha reported receiving contributions from three former PMA clients for whom he requested earmarks in the pending appropriations bills.” When it comes to the PMA scandal, Murtha is not alone. As many as six other Members of Congress are currently under scrutiny according to The Washington Post. They include: Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN.), James P. Moran Jr. (D-VA), Norm Dicks (D-WA.), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), C.W. Bill Young (R-FL.) and Todd Tiahrt (R-KS.). Of course rather than investigate this serious scandal, according to Roll Call House Democrats circled the wagons, “cobbling together a defense to offer political cover to their rank and file.” The Washington Post also reported in 2009 that Murtha’s nephew received $4 million in Defense Department no-bid contracts: “Newly obtained documents…show Robert Murtha mentioning his influential family connection as leverage in his business dealings and holding unusual power with the military.”
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  19. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): Rangel, the man in charge of writing tax policy for the entire country, has yet to adequately explain how he could possibly “forget” to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income he earned from his off-shore rental property. He also faces allegations that he improperly used his influence to maintain ownership of highly coveted rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, and misused his congressional office to fundraise for his private Rangel Center by preserving a tax loophole for an oil drilling company in exchange for funding. On top of all that, Rangel recently amended his financial disclosure reports, which doubled his reported wealth. (He somehow “forgot” about $1 million in assets.) And what did he do when the House Ethics Committee started looking into all of this? He apparently resorted to making “campaign contributions” to dig his way out of trouble. According to WCBS TV, a New York CBS affiliate: “The reigning member of Congress’ top tax committee is apparently ‘wrangling’ other politicos to get him out of his own financial and tax troubles…Since ethics probes began last year the 79-year-old congressman has given campaign donations to 119 members of Congress, including three of the five Democrats on the House Ethics Committee who are charged with investigating him.” Charlie Rangel should not be allowed to remain in Congress, let alone serve as Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and he knows it. That’s why he felt the need to disburse campaign contributions to Ethics Committee members and other congressional colleagues.