Good News! Obama DoJ appoints Obama donor to investigate Obama #IRS


**Posted by Phineas


What Team Obama thinks of us

This isn’t the fox guarding the henhouse. This is the fox walking into the henhouse with a chainsaw and locking the door behind him.

From The Washington Times:

The Justice Department selected an avowed political supporter of President Obama to lead the criminal probe into the IRS targeting of tea party groups, according to top Republicans who said Wednesday that the move has ruined the entire investigation.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, and regulatory affairs subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, said they have discovered that the head of the investigation is Barbara Kay Bosserman, a trial lawyer in the Justice Department who donated more than $6,000 to Mr. Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, as well as several hundred dollars to the national Democratic Party.

“The department has created a startling conflict of interest,” Mr. Issa and Mr. Jordan said in a letter sent Wednesday and reviewed by The Washington Times. “It is unbelievable that the department would choose such an individual to examine the federal government’s systematic targeting and harassment of organizations opposed to the president’s policies.”

That’s unfair of Mr. Issa; I’m sure Ms. Bosserman will get the bottom of this scandal and identify the real culprit — the Tea Party. And Sarah Palin, too, gosh darn her!

Meanwhile, the networks are focusing like a laser on a true national outrage: traffic jams in New Jersey.

via Doug Powers

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

NYC Mayor DeBlasio appoints tax-cheat to high office


**Posted by Phineas

"NYC city council meeting"

“NYC city council meeting”

Another scandal involving Democrats. Color me shocked:

City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito fessed up Monday, admitting she failed to disclose years of rental income she received, as first revealed by the Daily News.

The East Harlem Democrat, who is Mayor de Blasio’s choice for Council speaker, acknowledged the lapse after The News reported that several people lived in a three-unit building she owns during a period when she reported no rental income on her city ethics forms.

“This was an unintentional mistake,” her spokesman, Eric Koch, told The News on Monday night.

“We will be pulling the necessary documents and will be updating the Conflicts of Interest Board disclosures as soon as we have them.”

Still unclear is whether Mark-Viverito reported the rental income to the IRS. Her aides did not respond to a request by The News to examine her income tax returns.

I don’t see what the problem is: She’s just practicing to be US Treasury Secretary.

Between this and Stacy McCain’s investigation into the real reason New York City’s new, Sandinista-loving mayor wants to ban horse-drawn carriages, I predict Manhattanites will in about two years be begging Giuliani to come back.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

It is good to be King, isn’t it, @BarackObama?


**Posted by Phineas

"My will is enough!"

“Divine right”

Especially when you can use public money to give your (estranged?) (1) Queen her birthday gift:

Via Twitchy.

Some background from Bridget Johnson:

President Obama flew back from his holiday Hawaii break yesterday with daughters Sasha and Malia in tow, but without the first lady.

Michelle Obama stayed behind in Hawaii. According to the White House, “As part of her birthday gift from the President, the First Lady will remain in Hawaii to spend time with friends ahead of her upcoming 50th birthday.”


According to the White House pool reports filed over the holiday break, President Obama would meet up with his wife for dinner but spent much of the vacation alone at the gym or with friends for many, many marathon hours of golf.

Trouble in the Royal Chamber? Anyone know what Vera Baker is doing these days?

PS: Sure, their private life is their business, and I’d be happy to keep it that way if their side didn’t feel so free to break that rule when the subject is on the Right. Besides, divorce rumors have swirled around those two, before. In the end, though, what burns me is the arrogant use of public money to buy a gift for Michelle. I can understand the need for security, hence no traveling on public airlines, but you can at least reimburse the country the cost of the fuel, Mr. President. (2)

(1) Yeah, it’s the Enquirer. But they have a better track record than their common reputation would suggest. As Bridget points out, they nailed John Edwards and Jesse Jackson’s affairs.
(2) That’s “Mr. President,” not “Your Majesty.” I do think he has trouble remembering the difference.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

CA High-Speed Rail Fail: $600 million spent, not a mile of track laid


**Posted by Phineas

"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

Because The Future! Or something:

The latest accounting by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to state lawmakers indicates that the agency has spent almost $600 million on engineering and environmental consultants — all without turning a shovelful of dirt on construction.

In the twice-a-year report (PDF) sent to legislative leaders on Friday, the agency is sticking to its estimated price tag of $68.3 billion to build its San Francisco-to-Los Angeles bullet-train line. The agency earlier this year approved a $987 million contract with a team of contractors to design and build the first 29-mile stretch of the line from Madera through Fresno.

But while contractors Tutor Perini Corp., Zachry Construction and Parsons Corp. have been given a green light for engineering and other pre-construction activities, the authority has offered no estimate of when ground may be broken .

If the name “Tutor-Perini” rings a bell, you’re not just hearing things. Tutor-Perini’s principle owner is Richard Blum. Blum has been mentioned before in this blog, and there have been allegations in the past of cronyism in the winning of government contracts by companies he’s involved with. By sheer coincidence, Blum is also the husband of Senator Diane Feinstein.

Fancy that.

But, back to the more than half-a-billion, this is money that has been spent before construction has even begun on the initial Fresno to Madera segment. The Fresno Bee article describes what we’ve gotten for our money, so far:

“The authority has made significant progress in its mission to plan, design, build and operate the nation’s first high-speed rail system as part of the statewide rail modernization program,” agency CEO Jeff Morales wrote in the report.

The report details a raft of administrative advances, including filling all of its executive management positions, developing a risk-management plan, issuing a report on greenhouse-gas emissions, and awarding the construction contracts for the Madera-Fresno stretch.

(I hope those executives got some nice chairs for that $600 million.)

There is still an environmental report –Yay! More consulting fees!– for the area around Chowchilla to be done, which is why this state version of a shovel-ready project hasn’t started. Already they’re two years behind schedule.

And the whole ball of wax (with attendant fees) has to be done for at least six other segments from San Francisco to Anaheim. Luckily, the High-Speed Rail Authority is allowed to spend up to $980 million on pre-construction “consulting contracts” through 2018. No way they’ll come asking for more public money (1). Nope. Nuh-uh.

I can’t wait to see what the costs come to once they actually start building this boondoggle.

Nice legacy ya got there, Governor.

(1) Funded by either public borrowing or higher taxes, of course.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Obamacare fraud: enrollee count as legitimate as Chicago voter rolls


**Posted by Phineas

tarot magician card fraud trickster


Seriously, if Amazon had done something like this, the Department of Justice and the SEC would be on their backs faster than you could say “indictment:”

The fight over how to define the new health law’s success is coming down to one question: Who counts as an Obamacare enrollee?

Health insurance plans only count subscribers as enrolled in a health plan once they’ve submited a payment. That is when the carrier sends out a member card and begins paying doctor bills.

When the Obama administration releases health law enrollment figures later this week, though, it will use a more expansive definition. It will count people who have purchased a plan as well as those who have a plan sitting in their online shopping cart but have not yet paid.

“In the data that will be released this week, ‘enrollment’ will measure people who have filled out an application and selected a qualified health plan in the marketplace,” said an administration official, who requested anonymity to frankly describe the methodology.

The disparity in the numbers is likely to further inflame the political fight over the Affordable Care Act. Each side could choose a number to make the case that the health law is making progress or failing miserably.

What Ezra Klein, the article’s author and an administration apologist, Sarah Kliff, the Post article’s author, isn’t saying is that the administration’s “methodology” is nothing more than obfuscation, a con meant to create a “he said, she said” game that distracts from Obamacare’s indisputably miserable enrollment numbers.

This is as if Amazon had counted every item placed in a wish list or shopping cart as an “item sold,” even if the purchase were never completed. Investors seeing the government’s explanation buried in the footnotes of a quarterly report would rightly scream for the directors’ heads. It is rank fraud meant to make a failure look less bad (there’s no way they can make it look good), though it isn’t surprising coming from the White House that brought us “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

The willingness of the Obama administration to deceive the American people is just breathtaking. It really is “Chicago on the Potomac.”

UPDATE: For some reason, I had it stuck in my mind that Ezra Klein wrote the article. Now corrected.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Obamacare: When is a federal health program not a federal health program?


**Posted by Phineas

"Obama loan officer at work."

“Crooks welcome”

When our Beneficent Sun King and his minion Sebelius say so:

The Affordable Care Act is the biggest new health care program in decades, but the Obama administration has ruled that neither the federal insurance exchange nor the federal subsidies paid to insurance companies on behalf of low-income people are “federal health care programs.”

The surprise decision, disclosed last week, exempts subsidized health insurance from a law that bans rebates, kickbacks, bribes and certain other financial arrangements in federal health programs, stripping law enforcement of a powerful tool used to fight fraud in other health care programs, like Medicare.

The main purpose of the anti-kickback law, as described by federal courts in scores of Medicare cases, is to protect patients and taxpayers against the undue influence of money on medical decisions.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, disclosed her interpretation of the law in a letter to Representative Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington, who had asked her views. She did not explain the legal rationale for her decision, which followed a spirited debate within the administration.

Under the Affordable Care Act, millions of people will be able to buy insurance from “qualified health plans” offered on exchanges, or marketplaces, run by the federal government and by some states.

Most of the buyers are expected to be eligible for subsidies to make insurance more affordable. The subsidies, paid directly to insurers from the United States Treasury, start in January and are expected to total more than $1 trillion over 10 years.

And those subsidies from the Treasury are, of course, our money — dollars taken from our taxes or borrowed overseas. But, even though they’re provided by the US government to enable people to buy (artificially overpriced) insurance, they magically don’t count as a federal health care program.

What this ruling does is create the opportunity for graft via a huge kickback scheme: drug companies providing patients with coupons to lower their out-of-pocket for their prescription, for example, in order to tempt them away from lower-cost generics and toward the higher-priced branded drugs. The patient pays less via their co-pay, but the insurance company pays more to the drug company for the medicine. And if insurance companies have to pay more, you can bet they’ll pass those costs along to the consumer in the form of higher prices or fewer services.

Coming or going, it’s the taxpaying middle-class insurance purchaser who takes the hit.

One wonders if this was part of the deal worked out between Big Pharma and the administration back in 2009. Nah. Couldn’t be.

And, yes, I would like to buy that bridge.

via Neo in the ST comments

RELATED: David Freddoso explains how insurers profit from this scheme, too:

As conservatives have been warning since before Obamacare passed, the law creates a perverse incentive for them. Insurers are restricted under Obamacare as to what kind of profits they can make, but the restriction comes in the form of a percentage of what they spend on health care — also known as the Medical Loss Ratio. The law requires MLRs of 80 or 85 percent of premiums collected, depending on what kind of health plan you’re talking about. If the MLR doesn’t get that high, insurers have to start sending rebates to its customers. So that means the maximum profit (assuming zero administrative costs) is either 25 or 17.6 percent of total health care costs. By artificially increasing what they spends on health care, these kickback schemes allow insurers to push premiums higher and higher in the long run, so that their potential profits are larger with the same margins.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Obamacare web site contract a “crony contract?”


**Posted by Phineas

satire friends cronies

“Friends helping friends?”

File this under “Things that make you say ‘Hmmm…'”

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the contract to build the failed Obamacare website.

Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company.

Townes-Whitley and her Princeton classmate Michelle Obama are both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.

There is another strange item: at the company’s insistence, the Caller included the fact that a CGI executive testified before Congress that four unnamed companies had submitted bids. But, since CGI Federal’s was the only bid considered, this at first glance seems even more… “odd.” Why would they want to draw attention to evidence of special treatment?

The Daily Caller article provides no more evidence of any particular friendship or close connection between Michelle Obama and Toni Townes, but, given what we all know about the administration’s history of cronyism and Michelle Obama’s own involvement in patient-dumping scheme, this is worthy of note and further investigation.

Like I said, “hmmm…”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

How AP altered its headline to protect Obamacare


**Posted by Phineas

Don’t believe the press is in the tank for Obama and Obamacare? Well, check this out.

Yesterday evening, Jon Gabriel re-tweeted a link from National Review’s Charles Cooke to the Associated Press web site, which was running an article on the serious problems experienced by those using the Obamacare exchanges, which were only in their second day of operation. This is how the headline read:

AP Obamacare headline original

You’ll note that the graphic is not from the AP web site, but from, which carried this article as an AP subscriber. I had to search Bing to find it. Why? Because someone at the Associated Press soon after changed the headline of the original article at the AP site. Here’s how it reads now:

AP Obamacare headline altered

(Links to larger images here)

Pretty significant, no? Nice way to put a much more positive spin on this anti-constitutional monstrosity.

I realize this happens frequently, but the dishonesty is still breathtaking.

And this is why much of the MSM cannot be trusted: they are not honest brokers of information, but a propaganda and marketing arm of the Obama White House, the Democratic Party, and the Left.

Walter Duranty would be so proud.

via Leatherneck


Found a version of the original AP article online. Here’s how the headline looked when Cooke shared it:

AP Obamacare headline AP site original

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#IRS: Lois Lerner negotiating for immunity?


**Posted by Phineas

satire lets make a deal

Oh, this is interesting:

IRS scandal figure Lois Lerner is negotiating through her lawyers with Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about possibly gaining immunity to testify again in the committee’s investigative hearings.

“The Chairman did not adjourn the hearing, he recessed it. Ms. Lerner remains under subpoena. The Committee has not made any offer of immunity to Ms. Lerner. The Committee has, however, indicated a willingness to listen to any offers from her attorney about what she would testify to if it was offered,” Oversight Committee adviser Ali Ahmad told The Daily Caller.

“I don’t have any update for you on timing,” Ahmad said in regard to when Lerner will be called back before the committee.

Immunity is discussed only when the following conditions apply: a) you think you’re in deep trouble and b) you think you have something the other side wants. Apparently the newly-retired on the taxpayers’ dime Lois Lerner is feeling the heat.

I wonder what it is she has to offer? Or is it “who?”

John Dean, call your office.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Benghazi: Survivors pressured to sign NDAs?


**Posted by Phineas

American blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

No wonder the House Oversight Committee can’t get to interview these people — State is trying desperately to hide them:

Congressman Frank Wolf, a Republican from Virginia, said today on the House floor that survivors of the Benghazi terror attack have been forced to sign non-disclosure agreements:

“On Tuesday I raised the question of why none of the Benghazi survivors, whether State Department, CIA, or private security contract employees have testified publicly before Congress,” said Wolf.

“According to trusted sources that have contacted my office, many if not all of the survivors of the Benghazi attacks along with others at the Department of Defense, the CIA have been asked or directed to sign additional non-disclosure agreements about their involvement in the Benghazi attacks. Some of these new NDAs, as they call them, I have been told were signed as recently as this summer.”

“Asked or directed” meaning “sign or your jobs are on the line.” This is bunk: employees of the federal government cannot be made to sign “non-disclosure agreements” that are proof against an investigation by the People’s elected representatives. This is nothing but browbeating by a cabinet department and White House that is hoping anyone interested in what really happened that night will just give up and go away. It’s time to subpoena not only the survivors, but whoever issued the order to require NDAs and to require them to explain why.

But wait! There’s more!

Wolf continued: “It is worth noting that the Marine Corps Times yesterday reported that the Marine colonel whose task force was responsible for special operations in northern and western Africa at the time of the attack is still on active duty despite claims that he retired. And therefore could not be forced to testify before Congress.

Here’s a quote from the Marine Corps Times piece:

When insurgents attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, last fall, Col. George Bristol held a key post in the region. As commander of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara, he was in a position to know what options the U.S. had to protect Americans under fire.

U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in the Sept. 11 attacks, sparking national outcry and a congressional investigation examining the lack of protection. Several U.S. officials have testified before Congress since — but not Bristol, a salty Marine whose task force was responsible for special operations in northern and western Africa.

Defense Department officials have told members of Congress that Bristol cannot be forced to testify because he retired after stepping down during a March change of command ceremony, according to several media reports. The Pentagon reinforced that point of view to Marine Corps Times on Tuesday.

“Col. Bristol was not invited by Congress to testify before he retired,” said Air Force Maj. Robert Firman, a spokesman with the Office of the Secretary of Defense. “The DoD has cooperated fully with Congress and the Accountability Review Board since the beginning of this investigation, and we will continue to do so.”

That isn’t the case, however. While Bristol is preparing for retirement, he is on active duty through the end of July, said Maj. Shawn Haney, a Marine spokeswoman, on Wednesday. He will be placed on the inactive list on Aug. 1, she said. That contradicts statements that Pentagon officials have issued to both Congress and the media.

I’ve mentioned Colonel Bristol, before, and expressed… “skepticism” at the claim that they just didn’t know where he is:

Sure, the Pentagon can’t find him. They have no forwarding address for his mail, no entry for a stateside residence, and no friends who might know how to get in touch with him. Nope. He just retired and walked out that door and vanished, and nobody in the vast US military bureaucracy knows where he is. It’s a real-life case of “Where’s George?”

And yet now we’re told he’ still on active duty for another week? This is looking a lot less like bureaucratic bungling and a lot more like obstruction of congress (PDF). I’m reminded of the wise words of the great Vince Lombardi.

And to whose benefit?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)