Scandal – Obama Officials Caught Pressuring Contractors to Fudge Job Loss Numbers

May 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm (Coal, Coal Miners, Department of Energy, DOE, Economy, Jobs, Jobs Report, Lives Touched, Manipulate, Natural Resources Committee, Office of Surface Mining, OSM)

Shocking or par for the course?

Via the Washington Free Beacon:

Obama administration officials may have pressured government contractors to change job loss estimates associated with coal regulations, audio recordings reveal.

The tapes show that unnamed officials with the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) asked government contractors to change their calculations of job losses associated with the Stream Protection Rule.

A preliminary draft of an environmental impact statement estimated that up to 7,000 coalminers could lose their jobs under the administration’s “preferred” regulation. After a leaked copy of the report went public, officials asked the contractors to compare job estimates to a model in which another regulation was enforced, rather than the real world numbers.

“It’s not the real world, this is rulemaking,” an OSM official tells a skeptical contractor on the recording.

“If we’re to assume [the 2008 rule] is enforced in the coal-producing states, this is a very small [impact],” the contractor replies. “But that, as you said, is not the real world, that’s pretending … I thought we were looking at what’s going to change in Kentucky, what’s going to change in Pennsylvania, what’s going to change in Ohio, what’s going to change in Wyoming.”

When a second OSM official makes light of the “theoretical discussion,” the contractor shoots back that “his [the OSM official’s proposed criteria] was theoretical, mine was practical.”

The agency fired the contractors studying the rule less than one month later.

Not only has the administration been caught red-handed trying to manipulate numbers, they actively tried to cover up the scandal.

The House Natural Resources Committee obtained the tapes from an unidentified third party after OSM provided heavily redacted transcripts—the exchange above, for example, was blacked out—and withheld the audio recordings.

This is an administration that was caught nearly two years ago trying to inflate job numbers by demanding that Department of Energy contractors use a metric called ‘lives touched’ when counting jobs created via the stimulus.  As explained by a CH2M Hill spokesman in the summer of 2010:

“Lives Touched” is a figure that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) uses to track the amount of people who have been positively affected by the Recovery Act funds.  This total would include people who have been provided full time employment (i.e. saved and created jobs) through the Recovery Act and people who at some point have supported a project funded by the Recovery Act.

This meant that the DOE’s accounting system was not accurately counting jobs, but rather was tracking a cumulative analysis of all individuals who contribute anything to any given project.  An overall headcount of sorts.  According to reporting instructions for CH2M subcontractors, this constitutes the “total number of workers who have directly charged 1 or more hours of work time to a … contract”

This new report on contractors and the coal industry is just another in a pattern of the Obama administration using smoke and mirrors to convince the American people that the economy isn’t nearly as bad as one would think.  This particular case had the added effect of trying to minimize the tangible evidence that Obama was intentionally trying to kill the coal industry – a result that has been definitively proven.

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While America Struggles Economically, Judges Host Hawaiian Conference That Could Exceed $1 Million

May 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm (9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Alex Kozinski, Chuck Grassley, Economy, GSA, Hawaii, Jeff Sessions, Zumba)

Republicans are blasting the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for planning a conference which could exceed $1 million in expenses.  The National Review calls the 9th Circuit, “That bastion of Left Coast legal liberalism”, and explains that the conference is being labeled as a meeting to discuss “the business of the courts and advising means of improving the administration of justice within the circuit.”

For some reason, such a meeting must be held in a posh resort in Maui, and must feature golf and tennis tournaments, Zumba dance lessons, surfing and yoga.

A group of judges dancing to Zumba at a $1 million clip.  This is ‘the business of the courts’?

From the Hill:

Two senior Senate Republicans on Monday blasted plans by judges in the 9th Circuit to hold a conference in Hawaii this August that they said could run up a tab of $1 million or more, and includes a schedule of sport fishing, yoga, surfing lessons and Zumba dancing lessons.

Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) last week wrote to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alex Kozinski to warn that the Hawaii meeting does not appear to fit with the 9th Circuit’s own opinion that the federal budget is tight. The letter was sent just weeks after Republicans took the General Services Administration (GSA) to task for a notorious $800,000 conference that led several GSA officials to resign.

“We are concerned about the overall cost of this conference and do not believe that discussions about the administration of justice would be less successful were they held somewhere other than a spa and resort in Hawaii,” the senators wrote. The letter adds that while conference organizers note that government funds are not to be used for recreation, the conference program “reads more like a vacation than a business trip to discuss the means of improving the administration of justice.”

According to a website announcing the conference, the meeting is authorized by law to consider “the business of the courts and advising means of improving the administration of justice within the circuit.” According to the schedule, it opens Sunday, Aug. 12, with a golf tournament, and includes a tennis tournament on Tuesday and an ice cream social and garden tour on Wednesday, among various meetings and panels held at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa.

Read the rest here… 

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Catholic Organizations Fighting Back Against Obama’s War On Religion

May 21, 2012 at 2:55 pm (Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal Wuerl, Catholic, Contraception, Healthcare, Mandate, New York, Notre Dame, Obamacare, War on Religion)

It started this morning with a lawsuit announced by the University of Notre Dame…

Via the AP through Weasel Zippers:

The University of Notre Dame is suing Obama administration officials over the mandate requiring most employers to cover birth control.

The school said Monday that the mandate violates religious freedom by requiring many religiously affiliated hospitals, schools and charities to comply. President Barack Obama offered to soften the mandate to accommodate religious groups, but U.S. Roman Catholic bishops say the change doesn’t go far enough.

Other religious colleges are already suing the Health and Human Service agency and administration officials over the mandate. Still, observers had been closely watching for Notre Dame’s next step.

The university is the most prominent Roman Catholic school in the country. Notre Dame came under then unprecedented criticism from U.S. bishops and others in 2009 for inviting Obama as commencement speaker. Obama supports abortion rights.

Then we learned that dozens of other Catholic organizations were joining the fight.  There was an announcement that Cardinal Dolan of New York, and Cardinal Wuerl of D.C., had joined 40 other dioceses in a lawsuit against the Obama administration.

Via CNS News:

The Archdiocese of New York, headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., headed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the University of Notre Dame, and 40 other Catholic dioceses and organizations around the country announced on Monday that they are suing the Obama administration for violating their freedom of religion, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

The dioceses and organizations, in different combinations, are filing 12 different lawsuits filed in federal courts around the country.

The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has established a special website–preservereligiousfreedom.org–to explain its lawsuit and present news and developments concerning it.

“This lawsuit is about an unprecedented attack by the federal government on one of America’s most cherished freedoms: the freedom to practice one’s religion without government interference,” the archdiocese says on the website. “It is not about whether people have access to certain services; it is about whether the government may force religious institutions and individuals to facilitate and fund services which violate their religious beliefs.”

The suits filed by the Catholic organizations focus on the regulation that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last August and finalized in January that requires virtually all health-care plans in the United States to cover sterilizations and all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives, including those that can cause abortions.

Mitt Romney has to be thrilled that President Obama is helping to galvanize Catholic voters behind the Republican.

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Editor That Claims Obama’s Kenyan Bio Was an Editorial Oversight, Apparently Oversought that Fact For 17 Years

May 21, 2012 at 9:00 am (Acton and Dystel, Barack Obama, Birther, Breitbart, Doug Ross, Harvard Law Review, Hawaii, Indonesia, Kenya, Literary Agent, Miriam Goderich, Mitt Romney, President, Tommy Christopher)

Last week we addressed a report that was sure to bring a little heat to this site – the fact that a promotional booklet produced in the ’90s had claimed that President Obama was “born in Kenya”.

Breitbart News, who ran the first report on the booklet, had actively sought comment from the publishers who were unavailable – until that is, news of the controversy starting receiving widespread coverage.

At that point, Miriam Goderich, who works at the same literary agency, decided to dive on the grenade by issuing this statement to Political Wire:

“You’re undoubtedly aware of the brouhaha stirred up by Breitbart about the erroneous statement in a client list Acton & Dystel published in 1991 (for circulation within the publishing industry only) that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.  This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me — an agency assistant at the time.  There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii.  I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more.”

Fact-checking error.  Editorial oversight.  Who knows?

Liberal hacks pounced.  Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher, as he so often does, jumped the gun a bit early using the statement as a way to ridicule the Breitbart site:

Pollak went on to claim that the error in that trade pamphlet was part of a grand design by Obama to reshape his image.  Yes, because the best way to catapult the Obamaganda is in a one-paragraph bio in the middle of 89 other bios that will be distributed via publishing industry junk-mail. Genius.

And yet, Doug Ross has proven that the short biography itself was consistently manipulated over the years, as significant details had been modified with one notable exception; the phrase “born in Kenya” remained intact for 17 years, and was only changed when it actually mattered –  in the spring of 2007 when Obama declared his run for the presidency.

After several revisions, the Obama biography still read this way on April 3rd, 2007 (emphasis mine):

BARACK OBAMA is the junior Democratic senator from Illinois and was the dynamic keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He was also the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He was born in Kenya to an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister and was raised in Indonesia, Hawaii, and Chicago. His first book, DREAMS FROM MY FATHER: A STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE, has been a long time New York Times bestseller.

Within less than three weeks, the biography had been changed to read:

BARACK OBAMA is the junior Democratic senator from Illinois and was the dynamic keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He was also the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He was born in Hawaii to an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister and was raised in Indonesia, Hawaii, and Chicago. His first book, DREAMS FROM MY FATHER: A STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE, has been a long time New York Times bestseller.

Read the rest here, as Ross has thoroughly documented the transformation of Obama’s biography over two decades.

He adds:

Old media’s feeble handling of this issue — parroting the laughable assertion that clerical errors caused Obama’s birthplace to be incorrectly listed, when former clients and the agency’s policy itself states that authors provide the biographical briefs — is pathetic.

The PJ Tatler sums up the controversy rather well, citing a theory that the President may have been using an alleged Kenyan birth to take advantage of Affirmative Action policies early in his college career:

The scandal is not that Obama was actually born in Kenya, but rather that he lied for his entire adult life about being born in Kenya, for personal gain.

The other scandal here is that the media can turn up a bullying incident involving Mitt Romney from 46 years ago, but can’t find this kind of information four years into the Obama presidency.

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High School Teacher Screams and Threatens Student Who Dares Criticize the President

May 21, 2012 at 7:00 am (Catawba College, First Amendment, Mitt Romney, North Carolina, North Rowan High School, President Bush, President Obama, Teacher)

The teacher in this clip (seen below) is a point-blank unhinged propagandist.

Breitbart News obtained information from a source claiming that the student recorded the classroom discussion to “prove to his parents what he has been trying to tell them for some time.”

According to the source, “The teacher in this video has a long history of pushing a liberal agenda, by shouting down students. She is very intolerant of other points of view that she does not share.”

When you listen to the audio, you get the sense that perhaps the student should have been teaching the class about First Amendment rights.

From the Salisbury Post:

After reviewing a video in which a North Rowan High School teacher tells a student he can be arrested for speaking ill of President Barack Obama, the Rowan-Salisbury School System said it can be a learning experience.

Meanwhile, an expert on politics at Catawba College says the social studies teacher just doesn’t have her facts straight when she insists speaking your mind about a president can get you charged with a criminal offense.

Although two students provided the name of the teacher, the Post is not publishing it because officials within the school system would not confirm her identity and she could not be reached for comment.

The video captures audio of the dispute but does not show the teacher or anyone else. It appears to have been shot with a phone or other device as the camera pointed at the ceiling the entire time.

Rowan-Salisbury spokeswoman Rita Foil confirmed the teacher is still employed with the district and has not been suspended for disciplinary reasons. Foil emailed this statement to a Post reporter Friday on behalf of the school system:

“The Rowan-Salisbury School System expects all students and employees to be respectful in the school environment and for all teachers to maintain their professionalism in the classroom. This incident should serve as an education for all teachers to stop and reflect on their interaction with students.

“Due to personnel and student confidentiality, we cannot discuss the matter publicly.”

Here are some excerpts provided by Breitbart:

The video shows a classroom discussion about the Washington Post hit piece about Mitt Romney bullying a kid some five decades ago. One student says, “Didn’t Obama bully someone though?” The teacher says: “Not to my knowledge.” The student then cites the fact that Obama, in Dreams from My Father, admits to shoving a little girl. “Stop, no, because there is no comparison,” screams the teacher. Romney is “running for president. Obama is the president.”

The student responds that both are “just men.”

The teacher yells — literally yells — that Obama is “due the respect that every other president is due … Listen,” she continues, “let me tell you something, you will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom.” She yells over the student repeatedly, and yells at him that it’s disrespect for him to even debate about Romney and Obama.

The student says that he can say what he wants.

“Not about him, you won’t,” says the teacher.

The teacher then tells the student – wrongly – that it is a criminal offense to say bad things about a president. “Do you realize that people were arrested for saying things bad about Bush? Do you realize you are not supposed to slander the president?”

Holy hell.  It’s criminal to slander the President in this country?  If so, there’d be an awful lot of people in jail for holding up Bush is Hitler signs.

What’s worse?  She is a Social Studies teacher with seemingly no concept of recent history, or the Constitution.

Now it’s one thing if you think the kid is being a punk in his delivery (and he is), but as a teacher are you not better equipped to counter that with something other than shrill, screaming, propagandizing?

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