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    Obama administration Tag

    Remember the famous ‘snapping back’ of sanctions that President Obama promised last year if Iran were to violate the Nuclear Agreement? The New York Times had hailed the ‘snap back’ as a diplomatic masterstroke, writing “snapback mechanism [to reimpose sanctions on Iran] is one of the most unusual parts of the deal. In the event that Iran is perceived as violating it, the agreement allows the full raft of penalties to resume automatically.” Well guess what, Iran continues to violate the Nuclear Deal and President Obama’s ‘full raft’ is nowhere to be seen. Obama Administration has instead responded reluctantly to Islamic Republic of Iran’s repeated testing of ballistic missiles capable to carrying nuclear warheads by blacklisting a handful of Iranian companies.

    At a 9:00am press conference this morning, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the Islamic State’s actions perpetrated against ethnic and religious minorities, including Christians, are “genocidal” and constitute crimes against humanity. In the brief (10 minute) statement, Kerry refers throughout to the Islamic State (ISIS) as Daesh, its Arabic acronym.

    While Obama cried for TV cameras yesterday, his administration was putting the finishing touches on a plan to transfer up to 17 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. This has been in the works for a while. Catherine Herridge of FOX News reported Monday:
    Source: 'Al Qaeda followers' among 17 being transferred from Gitmo The group of 17 detainees expected to be transferred out of Guantanamo Bay as early as this week includes “multiple bad guys” and “Al Qaeda followers,” a source who has reviewed the list told Fox News. Little is known publicly about which prisoners are being prepared for transfer, but the Obama administration has notified Congress it plans to ship out 17 detainees – some of whom could be transferred within days.

    The Obama's Administration's whitewashing of language might have played well with the social justice warrior brigade, but voters aren't buying it. A survey released by Rasmussen found 60% of likely voters believe America is at war with Radical Islam. Rasmussen reported:
    President Obama, Hillary Clinton and other senior Democrats refuse to say America is at war with “radical Islamic terrorism” for fear of insulting all Muslims, but voters beg to disagree. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 60% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the United States is at war with radical Islamic terrorism. Just 24% share the president’s position and disagree. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided.
    Pouring salt in the social justice wound, a whopping 56% of self-identifying Democrats also believe radical Islamist terrorists are our foe compared to 70% of those identifying as Republican. And the data just gets more interesting:

    In May, we covered the EPA's Waters of the United States rule and just how far-reaching it is, and in August, the EPA decided that a federal injunction imposed in response to a suit filed by thirteen states didn't apply nationally, stating that it applied only to those states that were parties in the case.  The EPA declared it would move forward with imposing the rule on the remaining fifty states. Yesterday, the Sixth Circuit Court handed down its own ruling that blocked the waters rule nationwide.  The Hill reports:
    In a 2-1 ruling, the Cincinnati-based Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit delivered a stinging defeat to Obama’s most ambitious effort to keep streams and wetlands clean, saying it looks likely that the rule, dubbed Waters of the United States, is illegal. “We conclude that petitioners have demonstrated a substantial possibility of success on the merits of their claims,” the judges wrote in their decision, explaining that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new guidelines for determining whether water is subject to federal control — based mostly on the water’s distance and connection to larger water bodies — is “at odds” with a key Supreme Court ruling.

    In the wake of the heart-wrenching videos concerning Planned Parenthood's sale of "fully intact" aborted babies and their assorted "baby parts," sometimes without the mother's consent, Alabama governor Bentley, Louisiana governor Jindal, and New Hampshire's Executive Council took steps to defund Planned Parenthood in their states. Because these defunding measures involve Medicaid, a federally-funded program, the Obama White House is warning states that they may be breaking the law by accepting Medicaid funding and excluding Planned Parenthood.  The Hill reports:
    The Obama administration has warned Louisiana and Alabama that they could be violating federal law by cutting off Planned Parenthood from their states’ Medicaid programs. The Republican governors in both states this month terminated their state Medicaid contracts with the organization in the wake of controversial undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the price of fetal tissue for medical research.

    In no small part because this administration seems to dish up scandal and outrage on a seemingly weekly basis, the Fast and Furious scandal has yet to be fully investigated or resolved.  After Eric Holder cleared Eric Holder of any wrong-doing, and the mainstream media outlets began reporting, erroneously, that Fast and Furious was the same program that began under President Bush as Project Gunrunner, the story sort of faded from the public eye. Apparently intended by the Obama administration to, at least in part, serve as a rationale for more gun control regulations in the U.S., Operation Fast in Furious is back in this news. Last week, it was reported that the Garland, Texas terrorist, for whose acts ISIS claimed credit, purchased a gun through a Fast and Furious gun shop in 2010. And this week, we learn that the man charged in the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry has received a plea deal from the U. S. government.  KVOA in Tuscon reports:
    One of the men charged in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry pleaded guilty to one count of murder, Monday morning. Once a potential candidate for the death penalty after the murder of the agent, the drawn up plea deal now states that the U.S. and the defendant will ask for 360 months imprisonment, with credit for time served since his arrest in October 2012.

    EPA Chief Gina McCarthy recently testified before Congress; when questioned by Chairman Lamar Smith over ineffective regulations that raise the cost of energy and thereby punish low income Americans, she admitted the regulations would have virtually no impact on climate. All that effort, basically for nothing. Transcript and video via Marc Morano of the Climate Depot (emphasis added):
    CHAIRMAN LAMAR SMITH: “On the Clean Power Plan, former Obama Administration Assistant Secretary Charles McConnell said at best it will reduce global temperature by only one one-hundredth of a degree Celsius. At the same time it’s going to increase the cost of electricity. That’s going to hurt the lowest income Americans the most. How do you justify such an expensive, burdensome, onerous rule that’s really not going to do much good and isn’t this all pain and no gain. ADMINISTRATOR GINA MCCARTHY: “No sir, I don’t agree with you. If you look at the RIA we did, the Regulatory Impact Analysis you would see it’s enormously beneficial. CHAIRMAN SMITH: “Do you consider one one-hundredth of a degree to be enormously beneficial?” ADMINISTRATOR MCCARTHY: “The value of this rule is not measured in that way. It is measured in showing strong domestic action which can actually trigger global action to address what’s a necessary action to protect…”

    The Obama EPA's "Waters of the U. S." power grab has come under a lot of scrutiny and resistance, and rightly so. In addition to citizen outrage and push back from Congress, the EPA is now facing two lawsuits filed by the Attorneys General of 16 states. Rod Kackley reports:
    Texas and 15 other states filed suit to block the new “navigable waters” rule as soon as it was published. The EPA legal eagles have not one lawsuit to worry about, but two. Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi have filed suit in Houston. Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming have filed suit in a separate case to have the rule overturned. “The EPA’s new water rule is not about clean water — it’s about power,” Paxton said. “This sweeping new rule is a blatant overstep of federal authority and could have a devastating effect on virtually any property owner, from farmers to ranchers to small businesses.” Paxton said the rule violates the U.S. Constitution, federal law and U.S. Supreme Court precedent, and places costly burdens on landowners in Texas.

    Here at LI, we've covered numerous aspects of ObamaCare from its questionable passage to legal challenges to various executive branch "tweaks" and shady exemptions to the devastating effects the law has had on millions of Americans. Now, apparently, the executive branch is going above and beyond the law in its efforts to keep the unpopular law afloat despite ample evidence that it's a disaster. Obama has repeatedly shown that he doesn't think he needs Congress' approval to change the law, and now he's being accused of funding parts of it without Congressional appropriations.  Funds set aside specifically for tax refunds owed to hard-working Americans are being used to subsidize the Basic Health Program associated with ObamaCare.  According to Paige Winfield Cunningham:
    Leading Republicans are charging that the Obama administration is illegally funding yet another part of Obamacare, in addition to the part of the healthcare law over which House Republicans are already suing. Their latest criticism centers on the Affordable Care Act's basic health program, an optional program for states that started this year, in which low-income residents can get subsidized, state-contracted health plans instead of buying them through the new online marketplaces. The administration is funding the program illegally by using a pot of IRS money used for tax refunds, says Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., who leads oversight efforts on the House Ways and Means Committee.

    As discussed earlier, the Obama administration seeks to transform neighborhoods of privilege by tinkering with their makeup and introducing more diversity, otherwise known as Section 8 housing. The way the federal camel gets its nose inside the tent is, as usual, through money. What seems like a largess at first almost never is. Not only does the money have to come from somewhere, but the inevitable price is an increase in federal government regulation of our lives. This particular directive would apply to communities that get HUD funds, which is an awful lot of communities (about 1250):
    The agency is also looking to root out more subtle forms of discrimination that take shape in local government policies that unintentionally harm minority communities, known as “disparate impact.”... To qualify for certain funds under the regulations, cities would be required to examine patterns of segregation in neighborhoods and develop plans to address it. Those that don’t could see the funds they use to improve blighted neighborhoods disappear, critics of the rule say... Critics of the rule say it would allow HUD to assert authority over local zoning laws. The agency could dictate what types of homes are built where and who can live in those homes, said Gosar, who believes local communities should make those decisions for themselves rather than relying on the federal government.

    In July 2013, Obama's "Department of Housing and Urban Development [created a] regulation broadening the obligation of recipients of federal aid to 'affirmatively further fair housing'."  Translation: in order for cities and states to continue receiving federal aid, they must begin diversification of their wealthier suburbs and neighborhoods by building Section 8 government housing in these areas.
    Stanley Kurtz at The Corner compared the HUD regulation proposal to San Francisco's "Plan Bay Area" initiative:
    In the face of heated public protest, on July 18, two local agencies in metropolitan San Francisco approved “Plan Bay Area,” a region-wide blueprint designed to control development in the nine-county, 101-town region around San Francisco for the next 30 years. The creation of a region-wide development plan–although it flies in the face of America’s core democratic commitment to local control–is mandated by California’s SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008. The ostensible purpose of this law is to combat global warming through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. That is supposedly why California’s legislature empowered regional planning commissions to override local governments and press development away from suburbs into densely-packed urban areas. In fact, the reduction of greenhouse gases (which Plan Bay Area does little to secure) largely serves as a pretext for undercutting the political and economic independence of California suburbs.

    While presented as a means to protect drinking water and "hold[ing] polluters accountable," the Obama administration's latest EPA rule, Waters of the United States, is rather more far-reaching than many conservatives like. According to the document (full text embedded below), the rule itself is not intended as regulatory (that probably comes later), but is instead "a definitional rule that clarifies the scope of the 'waters of the United States' . . . ."  Essentially, almost all fresh water, including that in "water-filled depressions," is now under the federal government's purview and subject to government oversight and regulation. Politico reports:
    On its face, the Waters of the United States rule is largely a technical document, defining which rivers, streams, lakes and marshes fall under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. But opponents condemn it as a massive power grab by Washington, saying it will give bureaucrats carte blanche to swoop in and penalize landowners every time a cow walks through a ditch. . . . "This rule will provide the clarity and certainty businesses and industry need about which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act, and it will ensure polluters who knowingly threaten our waters can be held accountable,” Obama said in a statement after the EPA released a final version of the regulation. “My administration has made historic commitments to clean water, from restoring iconic watersheds like the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes to preserving more than a thousand miles of rivers and other waters for future generations. With today’s rule, we take another step towards protecting the waters that belong to all of us.”
    Obama's emphasis is on safety and clean water; the rule, however, greatly expands the definition of what waters "belong to us all," including that on privately-owned property.

    A protest at a Phoenix mosque was held late Friday afternoon in response to two Phoenix residents driving to Texas last month looking to engage in violence because of a "Draw Mohammed" contest that was going on there:
    Police officers lined barricades separating protesters and counter-protesters who gathered outside a Phoenix mosque Friday evening in response to a planned "freedom of speech" demonstration where attendees were encouraged to bring weapons and "draw Mohammed," an act offensive to many Muslims. Police presence increased by 6:30 p.m. to physically separate the two sides outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix. About 20 cars and 15 motorcycles traveled from a protester meeting point at a nearby park to the mosque around 6 p.m., where people from the two sides used megaphones to yell at each other and were at times nose-to-nose. A large group of counter protesters held signs reading "Love not Hate," as others waved American flags and one man ripped the Quran in half.
    The protest went off without any acts of violence. There were no fights and no riots. One area where even supporters of the protesters split was in the decision of some to carry firearms. Arizona is an open carry state, and some of the protesters were openly carrying firearms, including rifles that would naturally be mistakenly referred to "assault weapons" or "automatic weapons."

    We already know that there's a lot the White House isn't telling us when it comes to the nuclear scam deal "framework" it claims to have worked out with the Iranians. Yesterday, Professor Jacobson explained that after the "framework" was announced, it became almost immediately apparent that the US, Europe, and Iran were not on the same page about how the deal was supposed to work. Then, David Gerstman penned a great takedown of the Administration's claims that the protocols in the framework (yes, the same framework we can't explain with any consistency) strengthen those in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Even Dick Cheney has chimed in, saying what we're all thinking: I think [Obama's] actions are constituted in my mind those of the worst president we’ve ever had. Yesterday, Senator John McCain talked with radio host Hugh Hewitt about the non-deal---and the White House is not happy about it. During the interview, McCain laid it all bare when he said that, with regards to the framework, "John Kerry is delusional.”

    The Obama administration has a habit of releasing new regulations at the beginning of holiday weekends and the 4th of July is no exception. While most Americans are planning outings with family and friends for picnics and fireworks, 1,300 pages of new Obamacare regulations were released. Larry O'Connor of Truth Revolt reported:
    Holiday Document Dump: 1,300 Pages Of Obamacare Regs On July 4th Eve The Department of Health and Human Services released nearly 1,300 pages of new regulations related to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) at 4:15 Thursday, just as the nation was beginning their Independence Day holiday weekend. The regulations deal with payment rates to doctors and hospitals. How doctors get paid by HHS through the new, overreaching Obamacare guidelines has been an item of concern for the American Medical Association, a key supporter of the health care law.
    Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner also noted the timing:

    A freedom of information request revealed several incidents of major ethical breaches at the Department of Treasury, involving the solicitation of prostitutes using a government resources as well conflict of interest concerns. This is the latest in a string of embarrassments and scandals for the Obama...

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