Judicial Watch • Obama Breaks His Word on Health Care

Obama Breaks His Word on Health Care

Obama Breaks His Word on Health Care

JANUARY 15, 2010

January 15, 2010

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

When NASA Scientists Attack

It has not been a good month for the global warming crowd.

A few weeks ago, I told you about the “Climategate” scandal, where thousands of emails and documents, hacked from a prominent climate research center, painted global warming scientists in a most unfavorable light. The emails provided hard evidence that scientists pushing the global warming agenda conspired to squash the dissenting opinions of rival scientists, going so far as to try to exclude contrary views from important scientific publications.

Well this week, Judicial Watch released its own set of emails and documents obtained from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). And once again, global warming scientists do not come off well.

This particular set of documents relates to a controversy that erupted in 2007 when Canadian blogger Stephen McIntyre exposed an error in NASA’s handling of raw temperature data from 2000-2006 that exaggerated the reported rise in temperature readings in the United States. What happened when NASA corrected the error? The new data apparently caused a reshuffling of NASA’s rankings for the hottest years on record in the United States, with 1934 replacing 1998 at the top of the list. (Kind of makes it harder to argue the planet is getting warmer when the hottest year on record in the US was 75 years ago.)

These new documents, which our intrepid investigators obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), include internal Goddard Institute emails detailing attempts by NASA scientists to deal with the media firestorm resulting from the controversy. Of particular interest are emails involving GISS head James Hansen. In one exchange, for example, Hansen tells a reporter from Bloomberg that NASA had not previously published rankings with 1998 atop the list as the hottest year on record in the 20th century.

Email from Demian McLean, Bloomberg to Jim Hansen, August 14, 2007: “The U.S. figures showed 1998 as the warmest year. Nevertheless, NASA has indeed newly ranked 1934 as the warmest year…”

Email Response from James Hansen to Demian McLean, August 14, 2007: “…We have not changed ranking of warmest year in the U.S. As you will see in our 2001 paper we found 1934 slightly warmer, by an insignificant hair over, 1998. We still find that result. The flaw affected temperatures only after 2000, not 1998 and 1934.”

Email from NASA Scientist Makiko Sato to James Hansen, August 14, 2007: “I am sure I had 1998 warmer at least once on my own temperature web page…” (Email includes temperature chart dated January 1, 2007.)

(This issue also crops up in email communications with New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin a little over a week later.)

According to the NASA email, NASA’s incorrect temperature readings resulted from a “flaw” in a computer program used to update annual temperature data.

Hansen, clearly frustrated by the attention paid to the NASA error, called McIntyre a “pest” and suggested global warming doubters “should be ready to crawl under a rock by now.” Hansen also suggests that those calling attention to the climate data error did not have a “light on upstairs.”

Many will debate whether the mishandling of the data was an honest mistake, or a purposeful attempt to exaggerate the global warming crisis. But in the least, these documents ought to be embarrassing for NASA, especially given the recent Climategate scandal. Needless to say, NASA has an obligation to be completely transparent with its handling of temperature data. And here’s an idea: Instead of insulting those who point out mistakes, maybe NASA scientists should try to engage the public in an open, professional and honest manner. Just a thought.

Clinton Corruption Front and Center — or The Latest Obama Administration Scandal

James Riady, who plead guilty in 2001 to a “conspiracy to defraud the United States” through illegal contributions to the campaigns of Bill Clinton and other Democrats, made it back in the United States last year, despite being previously barred from country for his crimes.

Apparently, the “disgraced” Riady was granted a visa waiver so he could receive an honorary doctorate from an Arkansas university and visit with Bill Clinton’s foundation (to which he gave $20,000).

The Washington Post asks the key question: “How and why did a foreign billionaire stained by Clinton-era scandals get a U.S. visa after being kept out for so long under the Bush administration?”

Those of you who have been with Judicial Watch for some time may recall that Riady was connected to one of the most serious crimes in our nation’s history — a campaign by the Clintons to sell out our nation’s security to Chinese government officials (and their front men) in exchange for millions of dollars in campaign contributions for the Clintons and the Democrats. (Otherwise known as the “Chinagate” scandal.)

Johnny Chung, a former Clinton donor (and Judicial Watch client), who was working with a Chinese general to give contributions to the Clintons, put it this way: “The [Clinton] White House is like a subway. You have to put in the coins to open the gates.”

Riady (and his family-run company the Lippo Group) put in a lot of coins and got nailed for it. In fact, Riady received the harshest penalty in the history of U.S. campaign finance law, $8.6 million, along with a ban from entering the United States. Apparently, however, with Hillary in the Obama State Department, the gates opened once again for Riady last year, quietly and under the radar.

The Post somewhat flippantly notes that the Chinese government connection to the Clinton fundraising scandal was “never proven.” However, a Senate report documented the Chinese communist plan to influence our elections with illegal campaign contributions. The scandal was real. And Riady was right in the middle of it. To quote from the Committee on Government Affairs report:

The Committee has further learned from recently-acquired information that James and Mochtar Riady have had a long-term relationship with a Chinese intelligence agency. Finally, an unverified single piece of information shared with the Committee indicates that John Huang [a Riady co-conspirator, employee, Clinton administration appointee, and Democratic fundraiser] himself may possibly have had a direct financial relationship with the [People's Republic of China] government.

So a criminal with alleged ties to a foreign intelligence agency is allowed back into our country to try to visit our Secretary of State’s husband (who is a former president and beneficiary of Riady’s illegal largess)!

Is it any wonder that a State Department that does illicit favors for the Secretary of State’s criminal bagman allows terrorists into the country like the one who tried to down the airliner on Christmas day?

This is a scandal for both Hillary and Obama (not to mention Bill Clinton). Other than the important story that editors of the Washington Post buried in its “Style” section, the liberal media is happy to ignore it. (Not the foreign press, where Riady is still seen as the scandalous and corrupt figure he is.) Judicial Watch had been pursuing information about this scandal since July (when Riady obtained his visa), but we’ve been stonewalled for information by Hillary’s State Department. (More of that Obama “transparency” — see below).

In other (and related) Clinton corruption news, the Clinton Foundation released its latest list of donors on New Year’s Day, and just as we have seen in previous releases, there are serious conflicts of interest documented. Check out the scoop from The New York Times:

Foreign countries, including Norway and Oman, have contributed to former President Bill Clinton’s charity, and donors including Donald Trump, the Coca-Cola Company and the Elton John AIDS Foundation pitched in as Hillary Rodham Clinton served her first year as secretary of state in 2009.

Add the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia to the list as well, which along with Norway gave between $10 million and $25 million, while Oman gave in the $1-5 million range.

(Among the foundation’s top personal donors — controversial Canadian mining tycoon Frank Giustra, who gave more than $31 million to the foundation after Bill Clinton helped him seal a lucrative uranium deal with the communist dictator of Kazakhstan, a former Soviet Republic.)

In the new book that documents Harry Reid’s patronizing and racist comments towards both blacks and whites, Hillary is quoted as saying (before she took the job) that if she’s appointed Secretary of State, “Bill” would turn things into a circus. Specifically, she is alleged to have said, “There’s one last thing that’s a problem, which is my husband. You’ve seen what this is like. It will be a circus if I take this job.”

Indeed, the circus has come to town.

How can Hillary Clinton go about the business of fairly executing the Obama administration’s foreign policy while foreign governments and nationals continue to fill Bill’s foundation coffers? And lest anyone have any doubts about the Clintons’ willingness to sell public offices for personal and political gain, read the above Riady section again.

The Clinton Foundation’s foreign ties plus the Riady scandal might have caused a problem in another presidential administration. But for the Obama administration, it is “business as usual.”

I’ll let you know what else we come up regarding this latest Clinton/Obama scandal.

Obama: What Transparency Promise?

It seems like every single week President Obama violates his own pledge to make transparency the “cornerstone” of his administration. This time it’s healthcare “reform.” Check it out, according to CBS News:

President Obama wants the final negotiations on health care reform – a reconciliation of the House and Senate versions of the bill – put on a fast track, even if that means breaking an explicit campaign promise.

“The House and Senate plan to put together the final health care reform bill behind closed doors according to an agreement by top Democrats,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today at the White House. The White House is on board with that, too, reports CBS News political correspondent Chip Reid. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stressed today that “the president wants to get a bill to his desk as quickly as possible.”

During the campaign, though, candidate Obama regularly promised something different – to broadcast all such negotiations on C-SPAN, putting the entire process of pounding out health care reform out in the open. (That promise applied to the now-completed processing of forging House and Senate bills, too.)

Brian Lamb, the founder and CEO of C-SPAN, made a serious effort to force transparency on these proceedings, consistent with President Obama’s promise. He wrote a letter to House and Senate Democratic leaders on December 30th asking that the network’s cameras be allowed into conference committee sessions as the details of this massive healthcare bill were being hammered out. Obama and the Democrats said no deal, prompting the highly respected and usually reserved Lamb to complain, and rightly so, that Obama had used his network as a “political football” during the campaign.

When asked whether he thought the Obama administration and congressional Democrats would change their minds and keep the president’s promise, Lamb replied, “I don’t have any great expectation.”

Neither do I.

To say Obama secrecy is a trend would be an understatement. The Obama administration has repeatedly stonewalled Judicial Watch FOIA requests, including those related to White House visitor logs and the government’s massive bailouts. So this “bait and switch” on healthcare is simply an extension of the administration’s penchant for conducting its business on the most important issues of the day behind closed doors.

And, of course, this penchant for secrecy raises the question: What is it about these negotiations that the president and the Democrats want to keep from public view? I’ve said this numerous times and it bears repeating here. Truth fears no inquiry. If there is nothing to hide, then there is absolutely no reason to shield these discussions from public scrutiny. But if you’re making backroom deals with big union donors or letting corrupt politicians like Charlie Rangel and Chris Dodd be your negotiating partners, you probably want to hide from the public.

We’re talking about an administration that held a workshop on transparency that was closed to the public!

To express your views on this scandalous process to ram through legislation that would allow the federal government to control your health care, you can call the White House switchboard at 202-456-1111. You can call your Capitol Hill representatives at 202-224-3121.

You can see that there’s good reason why — in his administration’s first year alone – Judicial Watch has filed over twenty Freedom of Information Act lawsuits in federal court against the Obama administration.

Until next week…



Tom Fitton
President


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