Covering The Smarter Government

nixon

Does anybody really care about an office break-in with possibly wide-ranging political implications? After all, the president isn’t a Republican.

Well, here’s a story about one anyway. John Hudson at Foreign Policy reports:

The offices of a Dallas law firm representing a high-profile State Department whistleblower were broken into last weekend. Burglars stole three computers and broke into the firm’s file cabinets. But silver bars, video equipment and other valuables were left untouched, according to local Fox affiliate KDFW, which aired security camera footage of the suspected burglars entering and leaving the offices around the time of the incident.

The firm Schulman & Mathias represents Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator at the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General. In recent weeks, she raised a slew of explosive allegations against the department and its contractors ranging from illicit drug use, soliciting sexual favors from minors and prostitutes and sexual harassment…

The State Department, which has repeatedly disputed Fedenisn’s allegations, denied any involvement in the incident. “Any allegation that the Department of State authorized someone to break into Mr. Schulman’s law firm is false and baseless,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Which given the Obama Track record means of course they did it!

And there you have it. If Psaki denies it, that’s the end of it. Everybody knows that the word of a State Department spokesperson is as good as pyrite.

Also, John Kerry absolutely wasn’t on his yacht as Egypt exploded into chaos last week, and it doesn’t matter that he was on his yacht because he can work from there. Oh, and the Benghazi attack was caused by a YouTube video, which had nothing to do with it and they never said it did, and it’s okay that they said it did, because it was the best information they had at the time, even though everybody knows that’s not true.

Got it? Now shut up. (DC)  🙂

#2: A top official at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could not tell the House Committee on Financial Services how many Americans are being monitored through the agency’s secretive data collection program Tuesday.

Mind you this was an Obama program that was absolutely crucial to protect the citizen from the evil predatory capitalist exploitation of the mortgage and credit industry!! 🙂
Don’t you feel safer?

OBAMACARE UPDATE

‘We’ve made huge swaths of your government more efficient and more transparent, and more accountable than ever before,” President Obama claimed Monday.

But the very next day, AP reported that a “computer system problem” has caused his administration to delay yet another piece of ObamaCare for at least a year.

The delay stems from a conflict between the law’s premium penalties for smokers and its restrictions on insurance rates. While ObamaCare forbids insurance companies from adjusting rates based on health status, it does let insurers impose a significant premium penalty on smokers.

At the same time, the law forbids insurance companies from charging older people more than three times what they charge younger people. The problem is that the premiums for an older smoker can end up more than three times that of a young smoker once you include the penalties.

Late last month, Obama’s tech-savvy regulators quietly told insurance companies that they simply couldn’t figure out how to get their computers to square the two.

“The system currently cannot process a premium for a 65-year-old smoker that is more than three times the premium of a 21-year-old smoker,” it explained.

And a fix could take at least a year.

Frankenstein has a Broken leg, missing his heart, has a bad knee and tennis elbow, bad eye sight, poor hearing, spinal problems, a brain hemorrhage, and weezes like a 65 year old chain smoker, but he’s ok. Trust me! 🙂

Meanwhile, the administration tacitly admitted last week that its promise of real-time verification of a consumer’s eligibility to buy subsidized coverage at an ObamaCare exchange wasn’t exactly panning out.

Under ObamaCare, only those who don’t have access to “affordable” insurance at work can buy coverage in an exchange, and only those below certain income levels are eligible for tax subsidies.

Rather than a high-tech instant check, the administration told states they could simply take the applicants’ word for it when it comes to their employer-provided coverage, as well as their “projected annual household income,” without the need for “further verification.”

The reason Obama’s regulators gave: There’s still “a large amount of systems development on both the federal and state side, which cannot occur in time for Oct. 1, 2013.”

The Government Accountability Office had warned in June that the administration was behind schedule getting the ObamaCare data hub up and running.

The administration also admitted earlier this year that — even with a nearly four-year lead time — it would have to put off a key piece of the small-business exchanges that was supposed to let employees at small firms pick from a range of plans best suited to their needs. “Operational challenges” was the excuse given for this delay.

To be fair, states aren’t doing much better when it comes to “smarter” government. The Washington Post reported last week that Connecticut will delay almost a third of the functions they’d planned for its insurance exchange Web portal. Oregon, Nevada and other states are also cutting back on their ObamaCare websites.

But the stakes are much higher at the federal level, particularly when protecting personal data is involved. Here, too, Obama’s “smart” government falls short.

Public.Resource.org revealed this week that the IRS inadvertently exposed the Social Security numbers of as many as 100,000 taxpayers on a government website. The group described the IRS’ data security efforts as “unprofessional and amateur.”

These are the same sort of government bureaucrats, mind you, who’ll be in charge of securing vast amounts of the far more sensitive data ObamaCare will collect on millions of Americans once it goes into effect. (IBD)

And they are doing a great job so far. You can have complete trust in them. Or else!
For 85 percent of Americans, he claimed, the only change they’ll experience is superior coverage.  For virtually everyone else, there will be competitive exchanges in place starting next year, from which they’ll be able to select affordable coverage.  And if some people still aren’t able to pay those new, lower rates, the government would step in with subsidies to make up the difference. 
And you know Obama ALWAYS keeps his promises.
So Shut up! 🙂
Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Subprime Subplime

Federal regulators for the first time are laying out rules aimed at ensuring that mortgage borrowers can afford to repay the loans they take out.

IMAGINE THAT!

Wow! what a concept!

Funny, since the rules they laid previously were the CAUSE of this “problem” in the first place!

Funny how that worked out. 🙂

The rules being unveiled Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau impose a range of obligations and restrictions on lenders, including bans on the risky “interest-only” and “no documentation” loans that helped inflate the housing bubble.

Funny, the Liberals were the ones who forced it on the industry in the name of “fairness”.

Lenders will be required to verify and inspect borrowers’ financial records. The rules discourage them from saddling borrowers with total debt payments totaling more than 43 percent of the person’s annual income. That includes existing debts like credit cards and student loans.

But the government can still continue to spend on it’s Credit Card ad infintum. 🙂

CFPB Director Richard Cordray, in remarks prepared for an event Thursday, called the rules “the true essence of `responsible lending.'”

Oooh, look the Obama Consumer Protection Bureau is doing something good for consumers !(sarcasm).

“Responsible lending”  Ooohhh! aaaaahhh! Isn’t just so wonderful! They care!

So where were they 20 years ago?

Oh, right THEY WERE THE ONES PUSHING the irresponsible lending in the name of “fairness” and “compassion”… 🙂

NOW, Decades later the Liberals want to protect the people from the Community Reinvestment Act and Clinton’s Housing initiatives that were the primary reason for the 2008 housing bubble crash to begin with.

So the liberals are going to pass regulations to protect consumers from the regulations they passed previously to “help” consumers. Got it! 🙂

Wow! is government just so wonderful!!! 🙂

And of course, the Ministry of Truth will be gushing praise all over them like a love sick stalkerotzi puppy and we’ll drown in the slobber. It won’t even occur to them as “journalists” that this is two-faced.

And the low-information, moron voter will think Obama is just the greatest guy since the invention of man and that he cares about them.

They should look at their shrinking paychecks and the inflation in their living costs first before kissing The Emperor’s Ring!

Cordray noted that in years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, consumers could easily obtain mortgages that they could not afford to repay. In contrast, in subsequent years banks tightened lending so much that few could qualify for a home loan.

But, we all know from the liberal memes that the reason everything crashed was not the subprime ponzi scheme set up by Liberals, but GEORGE W BUSH!! (isn’t everything? 🙂 ), his evil tax cuts (which the Democrats just made permanent by the way) and those evil “illegal” wars (Libya excluded). You know, the ones that cost just as much as the rise in the cost of servicing an ever growing debt- think credit card payments rising. The amount of increase in the debt payments equals the cost of those wars. Funny, how liberals don’t mention this… 🙂

The new rules seek out a middle ground by protecting consumers from bad loans while giving banks the legal assurances they need to increase lending, he said.

Protect the bank from more lawsuits and protect consumers from “predatory bankers”. 🙂

These would be the same banks that the Government told by laws and regulations to lend to people who couldn’t afford the loans to begin with because that was more “fair”. 🙂

So the Banks were bad people for not lending and now they are bad for doing what the Government wanted them to. Got it! 🙂

So they took all that bad debt, created derivatives and traded it around like hot potato toxic waste until it melted down all over everyone!

WHAT WE REALLY NEED IS PROTECTION FROM LIBERALS! And anytime they think something is “fair” because we are going to get an enema like the world has never seen every time.

The bureau also proposed amendments that would exempt from the rules some loans made by community banks, credit unions and nonprofit lenders that work with low- and moderate-income consumers.

Yeah, we don’t want to upset the morons who vote for Democrats now do we.

Which means this is all for show, as usual. It’s just Politics. Not economics. It’s all for Show. Yet Again.

“We are from the Government and we are here to help you” 🙂

(Thanks to Scotty Starnes for the story lead)

1,307 Days

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

ROTFL!

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

How Goes the War?

The grand plan of Obama is working.

High Gas Prices, low employment and a stagnant economy riddled with inflation is making people use less fossil fuels.

Traffic congestion dropped 30% last year from 2010 in the USA’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, driven largely by higher gas prices and a spotty economic recovery, according to a new study by a Washington-state firm that tracks traffic flows.

But they better off than they were 4 years ago. OF COURSE NOT.

But the Solyndra-Loving, fossil fuel hating Liberals I bet are all over the moon excited.

It’s not like they care WHY the numbers have dropped. Because they don’t.

******

A group of disgruntled stay-at-home moms is fighting back against a 2009 law that limits credit card access to people with proof of income.

The group says the Credit CARD Act of 2009 sets women back half a century, according to an online petition at change.org.

2009? When the Democrats had a majority in both houses. Hmm…

I guess Stay-At-Home Moms along with “never having held a job their lives” and since they don’t “understand” economics after all they just don’t need credit cards. Let that be the Man of The House’s Job! 🙂

Intending to limit irresponsible lending, the law requires credit card applicants to provide proof of income in order to qualify. Stay-at-home moms, with no income, do not qualify for approval, unless their husbands co-sign for the card, which has the group of angered moms fighting back.

“It is 2012, and because I’m a stay at home mom, I can’t get my own credit card,” the petition reads. “My husband has to give me permission to get my own line of credit. This is demeaning and flat out unfair.”

So would this be the Democrats “War on Women”?? 🙂
Bet the Minsitry of Truth will be all over this 24/7/365! 🙂
Or do you have to be a “rich” woman with her own money (like Teresa Hines Kerry) or one that can afford the $38,500 per plate at an Obama Fundraiser?
The group is also asking their members to send a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, claiming “the new rules send a message that stay-at-home parents are not as credit-worthy as young adults still in school without their own income.”
This was the board set up in Dodd-Frank that was going to save us all from the unscrupulous, evil, greedy, bankers and mortgage companies that forced people to take loans they could afford to pay back and then they traded them around as derivatives until they crashed.
Imagine what they can do with Health Care! 🙂

Obama: “As you begin the next stage in your journey, you will encounter greed and selfishness; ignorance and cruelty. …  (and that’s just from Democrats and Unions) You will meet people who try to build themselves up by tearing others down (Liberals); who believe looking after others is only for suckers,” (that’s the governments job after all) he said.

“My deepest hope for all of you … [is that] you can serve as a reminder that we’re not meant to walk this road alone (Government is right at every step to “help” you); that we’re not expected to face down adversity by ourselves,” (You have the government largess to fall back on) he told his audience. “We’re stronger together than we are on our own.”

Yes, Comrade, it Takes a Village!!!
Maybe they need government issued Credit Cards? 🙂
Oh, that’s right, that happened during Katrina and their was massive fraud! 🙂

But don’t worry, he gets a pass on anything he says.

Pelosi: “We know we have to balance the budget.  (1,1,30 Days since the Senate passed a budget at all- so we believe you Nancy!) We have to establish our priorities and make the cuts accordingly (The Military and every other “right wing” program we can get our hands on). We have to have revenue on the table (Screw the rich!) and we have to invest in growth (Spend even more!) because the creation of jobs (and the unemployment over 8% for 3 1/4 years and millions and millions deserting the workforce all together has certainly shown they way) is what will bring revenue to the Treasury (But not like taxing the rich will) and continue our economic recovery which is important to the American people,” (what recovery? where in your liberal fantasies?) Pelosi said Thursday at the Capitol.

“So to toss this into the mix right now, saying we have to have cuts that exceed even the lifting of the extent to which we lift the debt ceiling is really immature, irresponsible, let’s get serious.” (DC)

Who cares if we are spending 50% more than we  take in. All we have to do is tax the rich into oblivion and  submission and then cut the military to two tricycles and a pop-gun and everything will be rosy and wonderful!

It’s the Republicans fault, after all, that we haven’t passed a budget in well over 3 1/4 years and voted down Obama’s budget 2 years running…

Thomas Sowell: The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy them, and only in the short run. The current outbreaks of riots in Europe show what happens when the truth catches up with both the politicians and the people in the long run.Among the biggest lies of the welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic is the notion that the government can supply the people with things they want but cannot afford. Since the government gets its resources from the people, if the people as a whole cannot afford something, neither can the government.There is, of course, the perennial fallacy that the government can simply raise taxes on “the rich” and use that additional revenue to pay for things that most people cannot afford. What is amazing is the implicit assumption that “the rich” are all such complete fools that they will do nothing to prevent their money from being taxed away. History shows otherwise.

After the Constitution of the United States was amended to permit a federal income tax, in 1916, the number of people reporting taxable incomes of $300,000 a year or more fell from well over a thousand to fewer than three hundred by 1921.

Were the rich all getting poorer? Not at all. They were investing huge sums of money in tax-exempt securities. The amount of money invested in tax-exempt securities was larger than the federal budget, and nearly half as large as the national debt.

This was not unique to the United States or to that era. After the British government raised their income tax on the top income earners in 2010, they discovered that they collected less tax revenue than before. Other countries have had similar experiences. Apparently the rich are not all fools, after all.

In today’s globalized world economy, the rich can simply invest their money in countries where tax rates are lower.

So, if you cannot rely on “the rich” to pick up the slack, what can you rely on? Lies.

Nothing is easier for a politician than promising government benefits that cannot be delivered. Pensions such as Social Security are perfect for this role. The promises that are made are for money to be paid many years from now — and somebody else will be in power then, left with the job of figuring out what to say and do when the money runs out and the riots start.

There are all sorts of ways of postponing the day of reckoning. The government can refuse to pay what it costs to get things done. Cutting what doctors are paid for treating Medicare patients is one obvious example.

That of course leads some doctors to refuse to take on new Medicare patients. But this process takes time to really make its full impact felt — and elections are held in the short run. This is another growing problem that can be left for someone else to try to cope with in future years.

Increasing amounts of paperwork for doctors in welfare states with government-run medical care, and reduced payments to those doctors, in order to stave off the day of bankruptcy, mean that the medical profession is likely to attract fewer of the brightest young people who have other occupations available to them — paying more money and having fewer hassles. But this too is a long-run problem — and elections are still held in the short run.

Eventually, all these long-run problems can catch up with the wonderful-sounding lies that are the lifeblood of welfare state politics. But there can be a lot of elections between now and eventually — and those who are good at political lies can win a lot of those elections.

As the day of reckoning approaches, there are a number of ways of seeming to overcome the crisis. If the government is running out of money, it can print more money. That does not make the country any richer, but it quietly transfers part of the value of existing money from people’s savings and income to the government, whose newly printed money is worth just as much as the money that people worked for and saved.

Printing more money means inflation — and inflation is a quiet lie, by which a government can keep its promises on paper, but with money worth much less than when the promises were made.

Is it so surprising voters with unrealistic hopes elect politicians who lie about being able to fulfill those hopes?

Not Really. And with nearly half the country not paying any income taxes and record levels of food stamps and 99 weeks of unemployment payments will they vote to cut their own throats or yours first?

Political Cartoons by Ken Catalino

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

The Regime

Residents of Leesburg, Florida were shocked to see their local Social Security office turned into a random Homeland Security checkpoint Tuesday morning, as DHS officers armed with semiautomatic rifles and accompanied by sniffer dogs checked identifications of locals.

The activity was part of Operation Shield, an unannounced drill conducted by the DHS’ Federal Protective Service centered around “detecting the presence of unauthorized persons and potentially disruptive or dangerous activities.”

Thomas Milligan, district manager for the Social Security Administration office, said staff were not informed their offices were about to be stormed by armed FPS officers. DHS officials refused to answer questions asked by local media and left with no explanation at noon.

“Part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FPS is the federal law enforcement agency that provides integrated security and law enforcement services to over 9,000 federally-owned and leased buildings, facilities, properties and other assets.

But they can’t find the Border and don’t know what an “illegal alien” is but they can find YOU and if you do know what they are you’re a racist and will be sued by them. 🙂

Big Brother is watching YOU (and ignoring Illegal aliens and you better do it or else!).

Rush: Obama said, “When Congress refuses to act — and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk — then I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.” He got applause. “I have an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. I’m not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people that we elected to serve. Not with so much at stake, not at this make-or-break moment for middle class Americans. We’re not gonna let that happen.”

Now, the Founding Fathers said this is exactly what’s supposed to happen! It’s called “the separation of powers,” and it’s to make sure that things like this do not happen, that an all-powerful executive does not run roughshod over the government. But President Obama has just said: Because the Congress won’t do what I want them to do I’m gonna do it myself. Reuters again: “Hammering populist themes that show him to be a champion of the middle class, aides say the president will keep taking steps to show voters he’ll make moves on his own to help the economy if Congress refuses to act.”

If Congress “refuses to act,” it is his job to sit down and talk to ’em and make ’em act and get them to vote the way he wants. He does not have — unless they grant it to him (and they’re doing it, by the way) — the authority to run roughshod over them. But if they don’t stop him, he can do it. We can’t. Congress has to stand up for itself. Now, the Democrats run the Senate. I think they’re happy for this to happen. Dingy Harry loves for this to happen because they’re sitting there blaming it on the House Republicans who have no role in this. It’s an election year, so blame the Republicans for it. Folks, it is clearly lawless. If you regard the Constitution as law, this is lawless behavior by an out-of-control, rogue executive. This is what happens in banana republics, tinhorn dictatorships. In places like Venezuela, this is what happens — all under the guise of populism and helping the middle class.

On Thursday’s “The Laura Ingraham Show,” <New York Times Liberal Columinist David>Brooks said he still admired Obama, but conceded the president was more liberal than he originally thought.

“Yeah, I still like him — admire him personally,” Brooks said. “He’s certainly more liberal than I thought he was. And he’s more liberal than he thinks he is. He thinks he is just slightly center-left. But when you got down to his instincts, they’re pretty left. And his problem is he can’t really act on them because it would be political disaster. And so that means, I think he is doing very little — proposing very little.”

Michelle Malkin: Here is the operating motto of the Obama White House: “So let it be written, so let it be done!” Like Yul Brynner’s Pharaoh Ramses character in Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments,” the demander in chief stands with arms akimbo issuing daily edicts to his constitution-subverting minions with an imperious wave of his hand. His entourage of insatiable usurpers never rests.

Can’t delude legislators into adopting a $1.5 billion Kabuki summer-jobs makework boondoggle? Create an unfunded program through executive fiat.

Can’t muster up a filibuster-proof majority for radical nominees? Czar-ify ’em.

Can’t get Congress to approve vast wild lands designations? Grab them under cover of a holiday lame-duck session.

Can’t get the illegal alien bailout DREAM Act passed on Capitol Hill? Executive-order it.

“So let it be written, so let it be done!”

In keeping with the dark and defiant habits of this administration, the new head of the half-billion-dollar Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was sworn in behind closed doors on Wednesday night. The nomination of former Democratic Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to serve as Dodd-Frank regulatory enforcer had been soundly defeated in the Senate before Christmas. But as I reported last month, progressive zealots funded by billionaire George Soros goaded Obama to ignore the Senate’s constitutionally grounded advice and consent role.

At his left flank’s urging, Obama vowed to follow in President Theodore Roosevelt’s footsteps (TR recess-appointed 160 officials during a recess of less than one day) and install Cordray even though the Senate technically remained in pro forma session. Fresh from his Hawaii vacation, Obama returned to Washington and for once delivered on a promise.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday that the administration expects no retaliation for the end-run around the deliberative process. Playing the pharaoh’s helper, Carney airily dismissed widespread bipartisan questions about the legality of the power grab as “esoteric discussion.”

The GOP knew the installation of Obama’s latest super-czar was coming a month ago, but is now scrambling to respond. Republicans will get clobbered with the class warfare card again unless they forcefully counter the Democrats’ narrative of the president’s “bold” actions for “middle-class Americans.”

Obama’s liberal media supporters have rationalized the tyrannical maneuver as a response to GOP “nullification.” But it’s those who oppose common-sense reforms of the gravely flawed Dodd-Frank law — a 2,600-page monstrosity that no lawmaker read before passing it — who are obstructing good government.

As Senate Republicans have been pointing out for months, Dodd-Frank threw out judicial review, removed CFPB from the congressional appropriations process, provided five-year tenure protection for the director and transferred the agency from the Treasury Department to the opaque and unaccountable Federal Reserve.

Obama and Democratic leaders themselves recognize the recklessness of vesting so much unfettered power in a single individual. In 2009, Obama floated a bipartisan board to oversee enforcement. Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Charles Schumer of New York and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island all co-sponsored legislation backing a commission. Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank was also an original sponsor of a bill creating the very kind of five-member panel Republicans have proposed.

The House passed these and other structural reforms last year, but the Senate has failed to act, and the White House insists on demagoguing reformers. Moreover, taxpayers remain in the dark about how and how much the CFPB is spending, because Dodd-Frank allows the agency to draw funds from the Federal Reserve’s operating expenses. Out of sight, out of mind.

This is not “bold.” It’s jackboot. It won’t benefit “middle-class Americans.” It’ll line lobbyist pockets, soak taxpayer dollars and fuel a Beltway rule-making bonanza. It’s not about reining in Wall Street abuses. It’s about consolidating bureaucratic authority and granting unprecedented immunity to a single super-cop from congressional and public oversight.

Where, ahem, are those Occupiers when you need them?

And what’s really funny is that the Dodd-Frank Bill that created this new Czar says he has to be confirmed by the Senate to have any power or legitimacy!!

But an obscure paragraph in the 2010 law that created the bureau may keep Cordray in check unless the Senate formally approves of his hiring — an approval Obama sought to circumvent by making him a so-called “recess” appointment.

Section 1066 of the law says many of the bureau’s new powers are to be held by the secretary of the Treasury “until the Director of the Bureau is confirmed by the Senate.”

That legal technicality ensures that Cordray’s power will be legally crippled, said Roger Pilon, the founder and director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies.

“I don’t think he would have the authority to act” because he still hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate, Pilon said. “As soon as he did [try to impose a decision], it would be challenged [in court] by one of the people or entities that is affected.”

But since Obama couldn’t get his crony in there he just appointed him, which means he technically has NO POWER. But do you think he or any of his minions will take that seriously??

They want what they want when they want it!

And it’s a “bold” political move! 🙂

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie