Big Brother, Sketchy Pasts and Those Damn Robots Are Taking Over!

Derek Hunter

9/18/2011 12:01:00 AM - Derek Hunter

 

My sister is getting married this weekend, so this week’s column will be short. It’ll still be way longer than it should be – that’s just how I roll – but short for me. Being 6’5”, I don’t get make short jokes about myself often, so I’m going to enjoy that fleeting moment while I can. OK, done.

On with the show...

Big Brother Is...Now Following You On Twitter

Tone-deaf is one thing; incompetent is another. There’s a fine line between the two and they are often confused. If there was any doubt about which camp President Obama belongs to, it has been removed this month.

Taken individually, everything the President is doing easily could fall into the first category. But taken collectively, there is no choice but to conclude the President is in over his head.

Two weeks ago, after nearly three years in office – and after telling us last year his administration “will not rest until every American who is able and ready and willing to work can find a job,” the president announced he is ready to tackle unemployment. He then went on an extended vacation to the exclusive island of Martha’s Vineyard.

We were assured by various spokesmen that, in between near daily rounds of golf, the president was drafting not only his planned speech before Congress, but the plan itself. When the President returned from vacation, he delivered his speech, which contained more than a dozen variations of the line “pass this bill right away.”

The only problem was, despite his having worked tirelessly throughout his vacation on this bill, or so we were told, there was no bill. It would not be finished until the following week and has yet to be actually introduced in Congress. If the actual urgency were anywhere near the way the president portrayed it, you’d think he’d have his plan ready to go, especially since unemployment has been obscenely high since he took office. Or maybe he thinks everyone “who is able and ready and willing to work” already has a job. It’s doubtful he runs into many unemployed people in the golf course...

The jobs mess aside, there’s Solyndra. Solyndra is the solar energy company that got more than a half- billion dollars in “stimulus” money – in spite of all the red flags and repeated warnings – then promptly went out of business. Considering what the government spends these days, a half-billion dollars is likely to be found in any cabinet secretary’s couch cushions, but it’s still real money. More importantly, it’s our money.

So more than a half-billion of our tax dollars disappears like it’s Keyser Söze, and what does President Obama do? Nothing. According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the president hasn’t even been briefed on the subject. As Carney told reporters, “There’s nothing much to brief him on.”

REALLY? The fact that a major fundraiser for the president who, along with other company officials, visited the White House several times to press for this money – and the White House, in turn, pressed Congress for approval of this money – doesn’t rate a mention?

Beginning to see a pattern?

Then, this week Obama for America, the president’s re-election campaign, announced it had started “Attack Watch,” a Big Brother-like organization that encourages everyone to “report an attack” on the president. Attack Watch says its goal is to “Get the facts. Fight the smears.” It took to Facebook and Twitter to urge Americans to report “smears” and “attacks” on the president.

Unfortunately for Obama for America, the attacks cited thus far mostly have amounted to differing opinions. One example is Israel. There’s no doubt President Obama isn’t a big supporter of Israel, but don’t let the folks at Attack Watch hear you say that. They disagree. Their evidence is that politicians, some of whom are liberal Israeli politicians, said nice things about the President in public. Hard-hitting truth-telling there.

This would all be funny, were it not so disturbing. It did, however, spawn the creation of a hilarious mock ad and the inevitable “Hitler finds out Attack Watch is a joke” video. Even The Washington Post couldn’t help but point out how absurd it was, though it quickly changed the headline to make it seem as though it was only conservatives who found it idiotic.

What the Post did is the real problem here. Because the mainstream media spent the 2008 campaign and nearly every day since his inauguration telling the American people how brilliant President Obama is, it has much of its remaining credibility vested in him. Thus, it can’t report on these examples of failure and incompetence the way an honest media should.

That’s why every time you hear of new, higher unemployment numbers, they are always “unexpected.” Why are they unexpected? What has the president done that would lead anyone to believe a positive number of jobs would be created? Golfing doesn’t create jobs. Neither does vacationing. The closest the president has come to a “plan” to create jobs is to simply declare last summer “Recovery Summer” and hope for the best. But when you do everything history shows is NOT the way to revive an economy, it is no surprise when the best doesn’t occur.

But you won’t hear about that from the media, nor will you hear about the latest developments in Project Gunrunner. Or the Administration’s corrupt war on for-profit education. Or any of the other scandals that would be screaming from the headlines of the nation’s newspapers and leading the nightly network newscasts were the president to have an R instead of a D after his name.

Instead we get descriptions of “thrills” running up legs and lectured on how much of a genius the president is. If the Obama administration is the result of genius in charge, I’ll take an idiot any day.

Does This Administration Not Know Anyone With A Clean Record?

Because the nation’s capital doesn’t have enough power-hungry bureaucrats in Congress, Elizabeth Warren, former advisor to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and un-elected czar of all economic regulations, announced this week she’s running for the Senate from Massachusetts. In typical liberal fashion, she announced her bid on Rachel Maddow’s show after an intro that was, shall we say, so genital-centric you might’ve thought it a flashback to the suffragette days.

Warren was unable to get Senate confirmation to head the government’s newest regulation-producing machine, so she was appointed as an “advisor” to the president and simply granted the power she couldn’t otherwise get through traditional means. Now she wants to bring that experience, as pointless and destructive as it was, to an even bigger stage.

Her exit was not unexpected or even unwanted by many, but it does leave a vacuum...and nature abhors a vacuum, even when a particular vacuum isn’t needed, particularly in Washington.

Enter Richard Cordray.

Cordray is President Obama’s nominee to head the CFPB and, interestingly enough, he’s neck deep in a “pay-to-play” scandal stemming from his role as Attorney General of Ohio. Curiously, the issue was not discussed at a recent confirmation hearing in the Senate, but it certainly deserves further investigation.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal examined the connection between the Ohio Democratic Party, elected officials and out-of-state trial lawyer firms that received windfall profits from the state thanks, in part, to their political connections and contributions to Richard Cordray and others. The Journal reported the scheme began in 2006 when Marc Dann, a Democratic candidate for attorney general in Ohio, told plaintiffs' law firms he would allow their firms to file shareholder lawsuits on behalf of the state.  The decision opened the political contribution spigot, and he quickly collected nearly $60,000 of political contributions from out-of-state litigators.

After he won the election, Dann’s office filed at least four securities suits on behalf of state pension funds, mostly using law firms that had given to his campaign or to the state Democratic Party. After he was forced to resign from office because of a sexual harassment scandal, his replacement, Richard Cordray, continued the scam.

The Journal reported: 

Mr. Dann resigned after 16 months in office. After an interim appointment, the state held an election for a successor, won by another Democrat, Richard Cordray. Out-of-state plaintiffs' law firms gave little cash directly to Mr. Cordray's campaign, but in 2007 and 2008, they contributed $830,000 to the Ohio Democratic Party candidates' fund, which passed about $2 million to support Mr. Cordray.

Mr. Cordray then launched what he called an "aggressive" litigation strategy. Six law firms so far have been retained to represent Ohio pension funds in new lawsuits; five of the firms donated a total of $300,000 to the state Democratic Party candidates' fund in 2008….

State officials, in deflecting pay-to-play allegations, often say they pick law firms on merit by first issuing a public "request for proposals," or RFP; law firms then compete to be on a list that pension funds will use for any future litigation. But some lawyers say the RFP process itself can be a political fund-raising opportunity.

It should be noted Ohio politicians received the most donations from out-of-state plaintiffs' firms in the past decade—more than $1.65 million, by the Journal's analysis.

Progressives, the media and Democrats in the Senate have swept this scandal under the rug and demanded quick confirmation of Cordray.  Republicans are refusing to confirm him – or any director to head the CFPB – until President Obama agrees to put some checks on the almost unlimited power of the bureau and its director. They are right to hold the line. The CFPB is one of the most undemocratic agencies of government ever created.

But regardless whether the CFPB is reformed or, as it should be, eliminated, Cordray should not get a free pass.  Republicans must dig deeper into the Ohio “pay-to-play” scandal between Cordray and his litigator contributors.

And In The End...

First It Was The ATMs; Now Machines Are After Our Grueling Endurance Races. A few months ago President Obama famously blamed economic woes on automatic teller machines in a way that would’ve led you to believe we were well on our way to a Skynet armageddon. Those damn machines haven’t killed us all yet, but after their Jeopardy victory, computers are moving closer...A Japanese robot is entering the Hawaii triathlon. The small robot is expect to complete the running, swimming and bicycling event in about a week, so humans, who complete it in about 1/10th that time, aren’t threatened...yet. But we all know it’s only a matter of time. On the other hand, I’ve long suspected Chris Matthews was some sort of drool machine and Paul Krugman has sounded like a computer in need of a reboot, so maybe they’re already here.

Go about your week.