You can't spell "accountability" without "A," "C" and "T." But in Washington, government officials routinely get away with "taking personal responsibility" by mouthing empty words devoid of action. Heads nod in collective agreement that mistakes were made. But heads never roll. The Obama administration has raised this accountability charade to an art form.
At a House Energy Committee hearing on the half-billion-dollar bankrupt Solyndra loan-guarantee disaster, Energy Secretary Steven Chu made a grand pretense of falling on his sword. The neon-green solar energy zealot told lawmakers in prepared testimony that the "final decisions on Solyndra were mine, and I made them with the best interest of the taxpayer in mind." But again and again, Chu admitted, those decisions were made with serial cluelessness about the political jockeying, dire financial warnings, legal red flags and conflicts of interest that "everybody (else) and their dog" knew about (as GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas politely pointed out).
The bipartisan debt panel to nowhere is exactly where K Street lobbyists want it to be: hopelessly deadlocked. A November 23 deadline for agreement on $1.2 trillion in budget savings is looming, but no real reductions in the size, scope or spending of government are on the table. Instead, we are witnessing another obscene special-interest splurge to preserve the status quo. All in the name of "reform," of course.
The only thing "super" about the so-called budget control super committee is the size of lobbying muscle exerted on its members. Almost 100 registered lobbyists who are former employees of super committee members are now "representing defense companies, health-care conglomerates, Wall Street banks and others with a vested interest in the outcome of the panel's work," the Washington Post found in September. This includes two dozen former staffers to Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, including three former chiefs of staff.
We have entered a new phase of the endless Occupy Wall Street sleepover. Not working is hard work. After a month of tying up the police, generating mounds of trash, railing against Jews while holding up "Nazi Bankers" signs, grappling with pervs, rapists and thieves in their ranks, communing with avowed communists, and hobnobbing with 1 percenter celebrities donning 99 percenter costumes (phew!), the Occupiers are rallying around a new mascot:
The Washington Post's stoning of Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry is journalistic malpractice. Instead of calling the newspaper to task, other national media outlets have joined in. And now, the Post is doubling down on slander.
The Post dispatched reporters to the remote hunting grounds of a Perry-linked ranch — "associated" with Perry through "his father, partners or his signature on a lease" — because it once had a rock on it somewhere that had the word "Niggerhead" painted on it. The term is an embarrassing vestige of past racism not just in Texas but on geographical landmarks across the country.
The Obama administration's crony green subsidy scandal is erupting like a solar flare in Washington. But do you know what your kids are learning in their environmental education classes about this red-hot taxpayer eco-scam? Chances are: not much.
Instead, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Democratic apparatchiks at the National Education Association are disseminating solar power propaganda masquerading as math and science curricula.
If you thought the half-billion-dollar, stimulus-funded Solyndra solar company bust was a taxpayer nightmare, just wait. If you thought the botched Fast and Furious border gun-smuggling surveillance operation was a national security nightmare, hold on. Right on the heels of those two blood-boilers comes yet another alleged pay-for-play racket from the most ethical administration ever.
Welcome to LightSquared. It's a toxic mix of venture socialism (to borrow GOP Sen. Jim DeMint's apt phrase), campaign finance influence-peddling and perilous corner-cutting all rolled into one.
As part of his warmed-over jobs plan, President Obama is repackaging "Buy American" stimulus subsidies to help hard-hit homegrown businesses. At the same time, however, Congress is pushing to expand a fraud-riddled investor program that puts U.S. citizenship for sale to the highest foreign business bidders.
Are your kids learning the right lessons about 9/11? Ten years after Osama bin Laden's henchmen murdered thousands of innocents on American soil, too many children have been spoon-fed the thin gruel of progressive political correctness over the stiff antidote of truth.
"Know your enemy, name your enemy" is a 9/11 message that has gone unheeded. Our immigration and homeland security policies refuse to profile jihadi adherents at foreign consular offices and at our borders. Our military leaders refuse to expunge them from uniformed ranks until it's too late (see: Fort Hood massacre). The j-word is discouraged in Obama intelligence circles, and the term "Islamic extremism" was removed from the U.S. national security strategy document last year.
Barack Obama and Jimmy Hoffa are like Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Lady Gaga and hype, the "Jersey Shore" cast and hairspray: inseparable. The president can no more disown the Teamsters Union's leader than he can disown his own id.
At a Labor Day rally in Detroit on Monday before Obama spoke, Hoffa stoked anti-tea party hostility by urging his minions to "take these son of a b*tches out." (Botched grammar added that extra boost of street-gang authenticity to the labor lawyer's threat.) The same civility police on the left who decry any references to crosshairs as incitements to violence are now mute about Hoffa's brass-knuckle rhetoric. The Chicagoans in the White House refuse to comment.
There are now enough Operation Fast and Furious officials playing hide-and-seek in the Obama administration to fill a "rubber room."
That's the nickname for taxpayer-subsidized holding pens, such as the ones in the New York City public schools, where crooked employees are separated from the system and paid to do nothing. Perhaps the White House can stimulate a few construction jobs by adding an entire rubber room annex for "reassigned" scandal bureaucrats at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It's getting mighty crowded.
Blunt. Brash. Bold. Politically incorrect. Unapologetically patriotic. Philadelphia cheese-steak king Joey Vento was all that and a side of freedom fries. The 71-year-old owner of Geno's Steaks died of a heart attack last week, but he reignited a national debate over radical multiculturalism that will burn for years to come.
Five years ago, Vento garnered national headlines when a local newspaper profiled his outspoken views on customers who couldn't speak English. He hung a sign in his order window that read: "This is America. When ordering, speak English." Though he never turned anyone away, the grandson of Italian immigrants informed hungry patrons that he reserved the "right to refuse service" to those he couldn't understand.
Texas, we have a problem. Your GOP governor is running for president against Barack Obama. Yet, one of his most infamous acts as executive of the nation's second-largest state smacks of every worst habit of the Obama administration. And his newly crafted rationalizations for the atrocious decision are positively Clintonesque.
In February 2007, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a shocking executive order forcing every sixth-grade girl to submit to a three-jab regimen of the Gardasil vaccine. He also forced state health officials to make the vaccine available "free" to girls ages 9 to 18. The drug, promoted by manufacturer Merck as an effective shield against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) and genital warts, as well as cervical cancer, had only been approved by the Food and Drug Administration eight months prior to Perry's edict.
Everything that's wrong with the so-called debt "super-committee" can be summed up in the person, partisan hackery and policy ignorance of Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid named Murray co-chair of the dog-and-pony deficit-reduction panel tasked with identifying $1.5 trillion in spending cuts by late November. Murray, an unrepentant Nanny State cheerleader and patron saint of the Washington lobbyist, is a double-exclamation point on the debt deal's rotten joke.
Van Jones, President Obama's disgraced green jobs czar, is back with a radical progressive plan to rescue America ... from his old boss.
The problem, posits Jones, is that his fellow community organizer in the White House hasn't spent enough, regulated enough or taxed enough to achieve their perverse version of the "American Dream." What the country needs to "get the economy back on track," according to Jones and his league of leftists, is more government-created make-work. Oh, and a hefty side of Big Labor pork.
Actor Matt Damon is a walking, talking public service reminder to immunize your children early and often against La-La-Land disease.
In Damon's world, all public school teachers are selfless angels. Government workers and Hollywood entertainers are impervious to economic incentives. And anyone who disagrees is a know-nothing, "corporate reformer" ingrate who hates education.
"Millionaires and billionaires," President Obama says derisively, must make more "sacrifices" and live by the same rules the rest of America lives by. But there are seven little words that will never appear on the White House teleprompter: "And that means you, too, George Soros."
For all his (and his wife's) bashing of greedy Wall Street hedge-fund managers, Obama has shown nothing but love to the world's most famous hedge-fund mogul. The feeling is mutual and deep(-pocketed).
Wu-hoo! Welcome to another freaky ethics fiasco brought to you by the D.C. den of dysfunctional Democrats. This one comes clothed in a Tigger costume, wrapped in blinders and bathed in the fetid Beltway odor of eau de Pass le Buck.
Liberal David Wu is a seven-term Democratic congressman from Oregon who announced Tuesday that he'll resign amid a festering sex scandal involving the teenage daughter of a longtime campaign donor. He won't, however, be vacating public office until "the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis." Translation: Call off the U-Haul trucks. Wu's staying awhile.
Dodd-Frank, the 2,300-page financial "reform" monstrosity spearheaded by Capitol Hill corruptocrats, turned 1 this week. It made too-big banks bigger. It made too-risky incentives riskier. It made a lousy economy lousier. Billed as a "consumer protection" act, Dodd-Frank has succeeded phenomenally — in protecting and stimulating the business-stifling business of government.
Dodd-Frank is a tyrannical triumph of rule-makers, lobbyists and other non-elected spongers over taxpayers. If you don't want an unseemly glimpse into the self-serving, sausage-making process that feeds the insatiable Beltway industry, read no further. The law's implementation process is so far-reaching and Byzantine that every member of Congress should be suffering migraines from it.
Immediately after President Obama took office, his Hollywood benefactors clamored for the creation of a "Secretary of Culture." Tinseltown was disappointed with the administration's crony arts czar choice (Chicago lawyer Kareem Dale), but left-wing artists and entertainers have now been mollified.
Instead of one government-supported arts czar, the White House has designated an entire herd of them.
Is there a health insurance horror story disseminated by the White House and its allies that ever turned out to be true? Obamacare advocates have exercised more artistic license than a convention of Photoshoppers. Now, a prominent sob story shilled by President Obama himself about his own mother is in doubt. It's high past time to call their bluffs.
A rising chorus of repeal-mongers, outraged at the Obama administration's federal health care power grab, took over Washington this week. Nope, it's not the tea party. It's Democrats Against the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Yes, Democrats.
What's IPAB? A Beltway acronym for subverting the deliberative process.
A prominent Democratic politician who was banned from receiving federal aid three years ago over fraud charges is once again raking in government funds from the very same program he abused. It pays to be a FOTO — Friend of the Obamas.
Our publicly subsidized con artist is Sacramento mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson. He donated the maximum individual amount to Obama for America, campaigned across the country for Obama in 2008, and bragged to California media during his mayoral run about his friendship and access to both Barack and Michelle Obama. The Obama administration's Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) recently bestowed Johnson's city with an AmeriCorps grant worth more than $650,000.
With great fanfare and elite media sympathy, Jose Antonio Vargas publicly declared himself an "undocumented immigrant" this week. "Undocumented" my you-know-what. In the felony-friendly pages of The New York Crimes — er, Times — the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist turned illegal-alien activist spilled the beans on all the illegal IDs he amassed over the years. He had documents coming out of his ears.
The Times featured full-color photos of Vargas' fake document trove — including a fake passport with a fake name, a fake green card and a Social Security card his grandfather doctored for him at a Kinko's. He committed perjury repeatedly on federal I-9 employment eligibility forms. In 2002, while pursuing his journalism career goals, an immigration lawyer told him he needed to accept the consequences of his law-breaking and return to his native Philippines.
Jon Huntsman wants you to know he rides a dirt bike. On real dirt! He's Salt of the Earth. Grease of the Garage. Dragster on the Dunes. Huntsman's runnin' and gunnin' for president. But underneath the Steve McQueen costumery, this made-for-cable-TV Moderate Speed Racer is a creaky old John McCain on Wheels.
The former Utah Republican governor and Obama ambassador to China is the answer to an election-year problem that doesn't exist. The quadrennial "problem," in the minds of Beltway GOP strategists and liberal media chin-pullers, is that the Republican Party isn't moderate, civil, self-critical or inclusive enough.
The same congressional panel that launched a preliminary inquiry into Weiner-gate this week has been diddling around with several other Democratic ethics scandals for years. These aren't foxes guarding the henhouse. They're sloths guarding the foxhole.
The House Ethics Committee is now reportedly probing into Twitter-holic Democratic New York Rep. Anthony Weiner's possible abuse of government resources while sending pervy messages and photos to young women across the country. The latest batch of Weiner's leaked social-media self-portraits — more cheesecake than beefcake — showed him in various states of undress at the congressional gym. From what other public buildings has Ick-arus tweeted his junk? And how much time on the public's dime did his government staff spend coaching Weiner girls to assist with damage control?
President Obama campaigned this week for "new and innovative approaches" to America's economic crisis. So naturally, the futurist-in-chief filched his fresh, bold ideas straight from ... the 1930s. The grand new solution to the jobs deficit, according to the White House, is more FDR-style federal job-training spending.
Sounding every bit like the whiteboard eggheads who keep spinning around the Ivy League-Washington revolving door, Obama announced breathlessly: "If we could match up schools and businesses, we could create pipelines right from the classroom to the office or the factory floor. This would help workers find better jobs, and it would help companies find the highly educated and highly trained people that they need in order to prosper and to remain competitive."
Official motto of the White House economic team: Those who can, do. Those who can't, fantasize in the classroom, fail in Washington and then return to the Ivy Tower to train the next generation of egghead economic saboteurs. Life is good for left-wing academics. Everyone else pays dearly.
Take Austan Goolsbee, please. President Obama's "fresh-faced" University of Chicago econ professor arrived in Washington in December 2008 to fill two slots: chief economist/staff director of the president's Economic Recovery Advisory Board and member of the Council of Economic Advisers. In September 2010, he replaced CEA head and fellow academic Christina Romer, who retreated to the University of California at Berkeley last August when unemployment hit 9.5 percent. (She infamously projected that the Obama stimulus would hold the jobless rate below 8 percent.)
How long before Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner conducts his next meltdown press conference flanked by two adult-movie "goddesses" a la Charlie Sheen? Like the delusional bad-boy actor, Weiner actually thinks his self-destructive act is winning, too.
The tweetaholic congressman spent the week dodging and deflecting questions about what he called a "randy" image that appeared in his official, verified Twitter account last Friday. The Fruit of the Loom torso shot in his social-networking stream was addressed to a 21-year-old Seattle college student. She's an ardent fan of the cable TV-hopping lawmaker and a member of the fawning generation that unabashedly asks its political idols "boxers or briefs"?
Curiously, one of Weiner's non-deleted tweets made reference to the Seattle time zone the same night the junk photo turned up. Weiner wrinkled his nose at a question on Wednesday about that inconvenient allusion, dismissing it as "pure, pure coincidence." He refused to explain why he gave Seattle of all places a Twitter shout-out. Weiner, if I may helpfully point out, represents New York's 9th District, not Washington State's.
"Frankly" — (red flag!) — he protested, he had "no idea." He then segued into relentless self-promotion of his "feisty" Twitter messages and started braying about the debt limit and health care reform.
It worked on cowed CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. But did it work on his wife? Would it work on yours?
Sending creepy photos to another adult on Twitter is not a crime, of course. But it is abjectly embarrassing for Democrats to be caught with their double-standard pants down — especially given how liberals hyperventilated over former GOP New York Rep. Christopher Lee's shirtless Craigslist photo. As always, it's the cover-up that's worse than the original transgression.
In the 1970s, "The Boys on the Bus" exposed how a clubby pack of male political reporters ruled the road to the White House and shaped the news. Four decades later, an outsider gal from Alaska has commandeered the 2012 media bus — and left Beltway journalism insiders eating her dust. We've come a long way, baby.
Amid frenzied speculation over her potential presidential campaign plans, former GOP Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin launched an all-American road trip with her family this Memorial Day weekend. Establishment media types didn't get reserved seats or advance notice of her itinerary. Palin rubbed the Washington media mob's institutional sense of entitlement right back in its face. "I don't think I owe anything to the mainstream media. I want them to have to do a little bit of work on a tour like this," she jabbed.
If you want to watch a corruptocrat start sputtering like Porky Pig with allergies, confront him with three simple words: conflict of interest. Asked this week about his role in securing an ex-lover's highly coveted job at government mortgage giant Fannie Mae, Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank retorted:
"Aba-dee aba-dee aba-dee aba-dee."
Or that's what it sounded like, anyway. Frank was rather miffed about the recent disclosure that he helped former lover Herb Moses land a job with the behemoth lender while sitting on a House committee that regulates lenders a decade ago. The Boston Herald reported Thursday that Frank immediately invoked the Everybody Does It card: "It is a common thing in Washington for members of Congress to have spouses work for the federal government. There is no rule against it at all."