Judicial Watch • Obama

Obama Archives | Page 11 of 13 | Judicial Watch

In its latest effort to save the planet from global warming, the U.S. government is on the verge of regulating ice makers commonly found in many refrigerators because they increase energy consumption by a good 12 to 20%.This could be detrimental to the environment since there are more than 100 million refrigerators across the nation and they devour a substantial chunk of the electricity used by all households. Energy consumed by refrigerators as a whole has long been documented but not what the ice makers inside their freezers use individually.Americans can finally sleep soundly through the night because government scientists have completed the ice maker study and the findings have been beautifully laid out in a 79-page report titled Energy Consumption of Automatic Ice Makers Installed in Domestic Refrigerators. The information is being used to make a case for regulating the popular little machines that are contributing to the planet’s destruction.In a nutshell, the culprit is the tiny motor inside the freezing system that’s used to release ice from the mold and into a tray. Because the motor is specially built to function in a cold setting, it requires an internal heater to keep it from freezing up. Here’s where it gets serious; heating elements require a lot of power and that’s where the extra energy consumption kicks in.The study was conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a federal agency with a billion-dollar annual budget that claims to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and quality of life. That description is straight out of the agency’swebsite for those who care to sort through it.The bottom line is that the NIST’s research is often used by regulatory agencies as ammo to control private enterprise. In this case the Department of Energy, which incidentally financed the ice maker investigation, will set new standards for refrigerators that come equipped with the devices. The DOE will add 84 kilowatt hours to the efficiency rating of every fridge that comes with an ice maker. That means consumers will pay more money.The Obama Administration has been quite active in its campaign to enlighten Americans about the ills of global warming. A few months ago a group of esteemed scientists from several public universities warned that climate change will make food “dangerous” and add to the malnourishment of millions worldwide.Before that separate government evaluations revealed that global warming causes mental illness and cancer and that it creates national security threats by spreading disease among people and animals. Authored by government scientists from various agencies, the mental illness/cancer report claims global warming is one of the “most visible environmental concerns of the 21st century” The separate national security assessment, made by intelligence and health officials, says climate change will destabilize developing nations as well as the U.S. economy and military.

Weeks after a government audit revealed that the Internal Revenue Service doled out $33 million in fraudulent electric-car tax credits, a separate probe says the agency paid out over half a billion dollars to “homebuyers” who didn’t qualify.It’s simply the latest of many blunders for the perpetually troubled government agency that’s awarded prison inmates tens of millions of dollars in bogus tax refunds in the past decade. Last year alone, more than a quarter of a million prisoners filed tax returns with the IRS and nearly 50,000 claimed more than $130 million in refunds without bothering to report wage information, according to the Treasury Inspector General.Last month the Treasury IG, the IRS’s watchdog, found that the Obama Administration’s aggressive push to reward consumers who buy costly “advanced-technology” vehicles resulted in rampant corruption because claims were automatically granted without scrutiny. In many cases the lucrative tax credit—worth up to $7,500—was awarded to gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles and even a bicycle. Some people got multiple tax cuts for the same vehicle and dozens of prisoners received nearly $50,000 in alternative vehicle credits even though they were behind bars.This month’s audit du jour says the IRS has dished out more than $513 million in credits to unscrupulous filers who claimed first-time homebuyer exemptions of up to $8,000 as part of Obama’s disastrous stimulus plan. A chunk of the money—about $326 million—went to nearly 50,000 people who already owned a home, the Treasury IG found. Nearly $8 million in credits went to more than 1,000 prison inmates and about $98 million to 13,400 taxpayers who never even bought homes.Even some IRS employees who didn’t qualify for the first-time homebuyer refund received it. In its report, the Treasury IG makes a rather simple suggestion that’s perhaps too common sense for the IRS; require taxpayers to provide documentation to support eligibility for all refundable tax credits. Here’s another good recommendation from the agency’s watchdog; that the IRS deny refundable credits when supporting documentation is not provided.

With a military officer from a terrorist-sponsoring nation and a washed out journalist as key witnesses, the Obama Justice Department has suffered an embarrassing defeat after dedicating infinite resources to prosecute an elderly CIA operative who fought communism.The 83-year-old, Luis Posada Carriles, once worked to destabilize communist governments throughout Latin America and the Obama Administration was determined to convict him for something. So the Justice Department mounted quite a performance during a 13-week trial inEl Paso Texas, flying in a lieutenant colonel from Cuba, which for years has appeared on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist-sponsoring nations, to testify against him.The government’s other star witness was a notoriously leftwing author, Ann Louise Bardach, who once worked for the New York Times and has written several favorable books about Cuba’s oppressive communist regime. Bardach testified that more than a decade agoCarriles bragged about his anti-Castro militancy, which supposedly included organizing bombings in Havana to scare tourists and blowing up a jetliner in the 1970s.Frail and somewhat decrepit, Carriles had been charged by the feds with nearly a dozen counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and immigration fraud. The case was such a stretch that jurors took about three hours to acquit him after hearing testimony from dozens of witnesses over several months. One media report said federal prosecutors sat “dejectedly”upon hearing the verdict after “painstakingly” building their case by calling 23 witnesses.Another news story said the short deliberations surprised many as did the across-the-board acquittals. Though jurors left without commenting, defense attorneys suggested their quick verdict indicated that they felt the government framed Carriles and exaggerated the evidence. The Cuban government quickly denounced the acquittal as a “farce” and “mafia justice.”The bottom line for U.S. taxpayers is that the Obama Administration dedicated endless resources to this case only to get its rear kicked in a big way. The big question is why? One blog dedicated to covering Cuban issues sarcastically wrote that Obama’s Department of Justice is considering charging Luis Posada Carriles with jaywalking. Maybe it’s not a joke.

In the Obama Administration’s continuing effort to befriend Muslims, the United States will for the first time host an international Islamic forum held annually in the Middle East and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will headline the three-day event.Created to address issues critical to Arabs and Muslims, the U.S.-Islamic World Forum will come to Washington D.C. this week after eight years in Qatar. Clinton will be America’s friendly host for the duration of the event, which begins Tuesday, and will deliver the keynote address at a gala dinner on the first day.Last year Clinton was the first senior member of a U.S. administration to participate in the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, which was held in February in Doha. At the event she announced President Obama’s “new era of diplomatic engagement” with nations that have been “hostile to the United States” and promised to close the military prison at Guantanamobecause it had “become a symbol of the wrong way to make America more secure.”President Obama also participated via a video message that called for a “new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” The commander-in-chief outlined a “government-wide approach” to improve the daily lives of Muslims and a commitment from senior administration officials—such as Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano—to engage Muslim communities in the U.S.Obama pledged to seek new partnerships in Muslim communities around the world and touted his efforts to engage with “faith leaders” and “civil society groups” to improve the nation’s relationship with Muslims. The efforts are necessary, according to Obama, because the “United States and Muslims around the world have often slipped into a cycle of misunderstanding and mistrust that can lead to conflict rather than cooperation.”A similar message is expected to be delivered at this year’s conference, which is being promoted as a platform for dialogue at the highest level between U.S. and Muslim public officials. The focus in Washington will be on the rapid, turbulent change in the Middle East and implications for Muslims around the world. The goal is to foster unique, positive relationships between policy makers business, cultural and religious leaders from across the Muslim world and the United States.Bringing the Islamic forum to the U.S. is simply the latest of many Muslim outreach efforts for the administration. In the last year alone Napolitano discussed national security matters with a group of extremist Muslim organizations, the nation’s space agency (NASA) was ordered to focus on Muslim diplomacy and Clinton signed a special order to allow the reentry of two radical Islamic academics whose terrorist ties long banned them from the U.S.The Obama Administration also sent an America-bashing mosque leader (Feisal Abdul Rauf) who blames U.S. foreign policy for the 9/11 attacks on a Middle Eastern outreach mission and ordered a government-funded meal program for home-bound seniors to offer halal cuisine prepared according to Islamic law. The Justice Department also created a special Arab-American and Muslim Engagement Advisory Group to foster greater communication, collaboration and a new level of respect between law enforcement and Muslim and Arab-American communities.

As the clash over excessive federal spending keeps Congress from passing a budget, the Obama Administration continues pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a fraud-infested welfare program.Just this week, as lawmakers duke it out in hopes of preventing the first government shutdown in 15 years, the administration allocated $311 million to a scandal-plagued program that gives low-income residents money to pay heating and cooling bills. The handouts will help needy families get the “basic essentials” to sustain a “healthy and quality standard of living,” according to Obama’s Health Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.Every year her agency—the Department of Health and Human Services—allocates billions of taxpayer dollars to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), despite documented waste and corruption that’s been repeatedly exposed in congressional probes and the media. So far this fiscal year, the Obama Administration has given LIHEAP $4.2 billion.Just last summer the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), detailed many of the issues plaguing LIHEAP in a report that blames lack of oversight for the costly problems. Investigators found that a number of dead and incarcerated people receive LIHEAP aid as well as federal employees whose salary exceeds the maximum income to qualify for the handouts.Sebelius conveniently failed to mention any of that in her press release announcing the latest injection of money. Instead she focused on how the cash will help “burdened” families who are forced to make “difficult financial decisions” relating to their home energy needs.

The criminal enterprise that Obama’s Justice Department refuses to investigate despite extensive evidence of fraud and corruption is guilty of a felony in yet another state.It marks the latest of many legal defeats for the Chicago-based community group known as ACORN, famous for illegal voter registration drives, embezzling federal funds and a tight knit relationship with the president. In fact, Obama once worked at ACORN and the group’s massive campaign drives helped him get elected in 2008.Facing more than a dozen felony charges in Nevada, ACORN pleaded guilty to one count this week for illegally paying canvassers to register voters during the 2008 presidential campaign. The deal means that ACORN will avoid going to trial, which was scheduled for later this month in Las Vegas. A judge will determine the sentence on August 10, according to a spokeswoman for the Nevada Attorney General’s office, the prosecuting agency.Since ACORN is a corporation, it will only be fined and there will be no prison term, the Attorney General’s spokeswoman told Judicial Watch. The fine is expected to be a maximum of $5,000. In November the ACORN supervisor overseeing the illicit  Nevada voter registration scheme pleaded no contest to two counts of conspiracy.ACORN has a long, sordid history of election fraud and questionable hiring and training practices. The group has been busted for forging voter registration applications in key battleground states and submitting falsified forms in more than half a dozen others. In 2007 ACORN settled the largest case of voter fraud in the history of Washington State after seven workers were caught submitting about 2,000 fake registration forms.Last fall a federal investigation revealed that the crime-infested community organizationembezzled millions of taxpayer dollars for “housing counseling” and destroyed documents to hide the fraud. The probe, conducted by the inspector general for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also determined that ACORN violated federal laws and policies by spending its “housing counseling” funds to pay the salaries of its employees, even after they were terminated.Incredibly, the Obama Justice Department has failed to conduct a criminal probe of ACORN, which has assumed a new identity (“restructured” and “rebranded”) to shed its criminal history and keep its public funding. In fact, last spring Judicial Watch uncovered FBI recordsthat reveal the Obama Justice Department actually killed a federal investigation of ACORN.Judicial has been the leader in exposing ACORN and its affiliated organizations in the last few years. Click here to see public records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act as well as lawsuits filed against the government to obtain documents relating to ACORN’s federal housing grants and its involvement with the 2010 U.S. Census.

Despite getting hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S. government to combat drug violence, Central America is quickly becoming an even bigger threat to the nation than Mexico.The subject of much media coverage, heavily armed Mexican drug cartels will remain forces to be reckoned with for years to come, but they’ve got viable competition to the south. Thanks to corrupt governments and fewer resources to battle criminal enterprises, the drug trade thrives in Central America and the crisis has spilled into the U.S.In fact, the escalating violence in Central America may soon create an even larger threat to the United States than Mexico, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). With a staff of about 900 lawyers, economists and scientists, the agency conducts research and analysis for Congress and often publishes its findings on its web site.In this particular case, the CRS published an alarming report (Central America Regional Security Initiative) outlining the region’s serious problem, often dismissed by Americans because it doesn’t share a border with the U.S. That hardly shields the country, according to the CRS’s findings.Well-financed drug trafficking organizations combined with “fragile political and judicial systems” threaten to overwhelm Central American governments, increase violence and the corruption of public officials. This will weaken citizens’ support for democratic governance and the rule of law, according to the CRS. The insecurity will, in turn, pose a threat to the United States.Central American countries already have among the world’s highest rates of homicide. In 2010 the homicide rate per 100,000 people in Honduras was 77, in El Salvador it was 66 and Guatemala 50. Mexico, well known for its rampant violence, had a rate of 18 homicides per 100,000 people last year.In the last few years the Obama Administration has allocated $260 million in “security assistance” to help  Central America combat violence to no avail. Many Americans may wonder where the money has gone, especially since the administration will probably give the region more cash in the aftermath of the CRS report.

The federal agency that has secretly granted hundreds of Obamacarewaivers to the president’s allies is refusing to provide congressional investigators with crucial data to eliminate waste and fraud in government disability programs.Each year the government doles out billions of dollars in benefits and a chunk of the money goes to unscrupulous people who become employed while fraudulently collecting federal disability checks. To root out the corruption, lawmakers say the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of congress, needs records from the Health and Human Services Department.The data the GAO is seeking would help congressional investigators match the names of people getting disability payments against a list of newly hired workers since its illegal for healthy, employed people to collect disability on top of a paycheck. The Health Department maintains the database but refuses to make the information available, even though it could save the government large sums of money.Additionally Obama’s Health Department has ordered states, which provide the agency with the information, not to comply with the request. A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is blasting Obama’s Health Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, for issuing the directive and blowing off a congressional oversight request.In a letter to Sebelius, the senators say it’s “highly inappropriate” for the agency to obstruct a congressional investigation and they tell the Health Secretary that “no agency should be allowed to stonewall GAO investigations.” After all, the senators write, the GAO is the federal government watchdog that keeps an “auditor’s eye out for taxpayer dollars.”One of the senators reminds Sebelius of the Obama Administration’stransparency pledge and urges the Health Department to live up to the promise by complying and demanding that states comply with the GAO’s probe. “I am stunned that HHS appears to be thumbing its nose at Congressional oversight and GAO’s legitimate investigations,” saidMaine’s Susan Collins, a ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.Sebelius has also been in hot water over the high number of healthcare law waivers she’s granted to Obama’s financial supporters in a secretive process. Last fall Judicial Watch filed a public records request to obtain information on the shady deals, but the Obama Health Department flipped the finger and Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit earlier this year to force the agency’s compliance.

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