Mark Hemingway: Scandals Aplenty

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The media just pretended they didn’t exist.

Mark Hemingway writes: As achievements go, this would be one in which a modern president could take pride. But in making the claim for himself, Obama proves he cannot even accurately describe the events of his presidency. His tenure saw an astounding number of scandals: Benghazi, Fast and Furious gunrunning, Solyndra and green energy subsidies for campaign donors, cash for Iranian hostages, IRS targeting of conservative groups, spying on journalists, Hillary Clinton’s private email server, the Veterans Administration disaster, trading deserter Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders held in Guantánamo, droning American citizens without due process, and firing inspector general Gerald Walpin for investigating an Obama crony who was abusing federal programs. And that list isn’t exhaustive.

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The media have certainly tried their best to buttress Obama’s claim to have presided over a scandal-free administration—starting long before he even made it. In 2014, New Yorker editor and Obama biographer David Remnick told the (skeptical) host of PBS’s Charlie Rose that the president had already racked up “huge” achievements. On his list: “The fact that there’s been no scandal, major scandal, in this administration, which is a rare thing in an administration.”

[Read the full story here, at The Weekly Standard]

Remnick was hardly alone. Veteran journalist Jonathan Alter wrote a column for Bloomberg back in 2011 headlined “The Obama Miracle, a White House Free of Scandal.” More recently, Glenn Thrush, then a Politico reporter, tweeted, “As Obama talks up legacy on campaign trail important to note he’s had best/least scandal-scarred 2nd term since FDR.” Even conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks last year declared the Obama administration “remarkably scandal-free.”

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Remnick’s remark is particularly notable for how it presaged White House talking points. Obama’s chief campaign strategist David Axelrod was asked at the University of Chicago in 2015 about the administration’s broken promise to bar lobbyists from working for it. Axelrod admitted things hadn’t been “pristine” but said, “I’m proud of the fact that, basically, you’ve had an administration that’s been in place for six years in which there hasn’t been a major scandal.”

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As Noah Rothman observed in Commentary, “The qualifier ‘major’ lays the burden on shoulders of the press to define what constitutes a serious scandal, and political media had thus far reliably covered the administration’s ethical lapses as merely the peculiar obsessions of addlebrained conservatives.”

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So what would constitute a “major” scandal? Would it involve, say, dead bodies? The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gave thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels; they used some of them to kill dozens of people, including American border patrol agent Brian Terry. When Congress tried to investigate why the ATF gave away so many guns and failed to track them, the Department of Justice engaged in unprecedented stonewalling.

The department withheld 92 percent of the documents requested and forbade 48 relevant employees from speaking to congressional investigators. Attorney General Eric Holder was ultimately held in contempt of Congress, with 17 Democrats supporting the measure. An explanation for why the ATF gave thousands of guns to violent criminals has yet to emerge—but we are to understand that this is not a “major” scandal. Read the rest of this entry »


Interview: CBS Reporter Sharyl Attkisson

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The former CBS reporter believes her work computers were hacked by government operatives—and fiercely denies accusations of political bias.

“I’m not a conservative. I’m not a liberal. I really am one of those people who are mixed on many issues and can see many legitimate sides. If that makes them feel better to call me a conservative, if that explains in their minds why I’m covering a particular story, that’s okay. It really is.”

For The Daily Beast, Lloyd Grove writes: When investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson resigned from CBS News in March after months of tense negotiations and a year—and maybe a million dollars—remaining on her contract, she told her husband to consider the possibility that she would never find another job.
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“I don’t care what people think. I’m trying to do what I think is right. Sometimes I rub people the wrong way, although I’m very polite.”

“I said to Jim I may never work again and he had to be okay with that,” she tells The Daily Beast, referring to her spouse of 30 years, retired attorney and law enforcement officer James Attkisson. “It took him some time before he said ‘okay.’ I knew I had to work somewhere else, where I could report on some of the stuff I was reporting on. Clearly, it would be a different ballgame.”

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“When the White House calls them to complain, instead of saying, ‘The story is accurate, so don’t call and scream at me,’ they get distraught. They don’t want the White House to be upset with them. They would much rather have the White House call and say, ‘I like the story you did.’ I don’t know why they care, but they do.”

Attkisson, 53, the mother of a 19-year-old daughter (“College is paid-for,” she says with relief), had toiled for two decades in the network news division’s Washington bureau, exposing government and corporate malfeasance, stonewalledscorching Republicans and Democrats alike, and racking up Emmys and other prestigious journalism awards.

[Order Sharyl Attkisson’s book Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington from Amazon]

Indeed, she says her career at CBS was going pretty well until Barack Obama and his team of belligerent spinmeisters arrived in the White House—and then things went gradually, inexorably, south, as her superiors folded under pressure and it became increasingly difficult to get her stories on the air. Read the rest of this entry »


Unenlightened Disinterest and Perverse Incentives: The War on Human Nature

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For nations as for individuals, pretending self-interest doesn’t exist is perilous

Victor Davis Hanson writes: At some critical point, everyone makes choices based on incentives and his own perception of self-interest. Somehow the Obama administration has forgotten that natural law.

A therapeutic sense of self-sacrifice is fine in the abstract, but in the concrete such magnanimity causes far more harm to the innocent than does a realistic appraisal of self-interest and a tragic acceptance of the flawed nature of man. The theme of the present administration is that it possesses the wisdom and resources to know better what people should do than they do themselves. From that premise arose most of catastrophes that have befallen this administration.

Consider the logic of Obamacare — a protocol that we lesser folk were supposed to learn about only after the bill was passed, in the expectation that eventually we will surely like it, although we are not able to know that yet.  If you use medical care infrequently, you supposedly will rush to sign up to pay more for it, so that those who will pay less can use it more. I wish such idealism were innate to the human character, but nothing suggests that it is. Does providing more coverage at less cost to more people somehow lead to lower costs for all participants? If so, the entire history of capitalism would have to be rewritten. Is it true that the more you try to get onto a website and are stymied, the more you will redouble your efforts to log on? If that were true, wouldn’t Amazon rig its website to fail 20 percent of the time?

Would employers hire more full-time employees in order to up their health-insurance costs, or would they keep their work force small enough that the federal guidelines will allow them not to provide coverage? And how would those incentives affect overall job growth? Will employers decide to forgo more of their profits so that the nation’s unemployment rate will stabilize?

Read the rest of this entry »


‘How Obamacare Can Save the Porn Industry’

Think Progress:

Well, porn has created more jobs than Solyndra.

Here’s the article if you want to actually read their reasoning.

via National Review Online – Greg Pollowitz


Another Green Company Goes Belly-Up

The American solar and wind industries have had a rough go of it the past few years despite considerable assistance from Washington. Now, the FT reports that A123 Systems, a company that specializes in manufacturing batteries for electric cars, is filing for bankruptcy. This is yet another blow for Obama’s green energy program, under which the company received a $249 million grant:

[The] bankruptcy follows that of other companies backed by US government grants or loan guarantees, including Solyndra, a manufacturer of innovative solar modules, Abound Solar, another panel maker, and Ener1, which also makes batteries for electric cars.

The news is unsurprising; electric cars simply aren’t selling as well as boosters promised. Following low sales reports, A123 missed a debt payment on Monday, and announced plans to file for bankruptcy and sell most of its assets to to other companies.

A123 Systems is only the latest in the growing list of failures in Obama’s controversial green jobs agenda, which Republicans have been consistently attacking on the campaign trail. Whether or not the Administration pays a political price for these failures, it’s time for a change of direction before millions more dollars are wasted.

Via Meadia