Monday, March 11, 2013

More Proof of Vindictiveness from President Obama

There is something that most folks already know: If you want to keep something a secret, don't tell anyone. Especially if its wrong, keep it to yourself.

Richard Nixon found that out the hard way. He supposedly only told 3 other people about Watergate. That's right, only three others. And yes, he was still found out.

Of course in those days, a president found breaking the law or abusing his authority was investigated, or impeached, or resigned. It seems as though politicians were held at higher standards than they are today.

Like Richard Nixon, Barack Obama is finding out that White House secrets are being "leaked" to the public.

And yes, like Nixon, Obama is finding out that Americans don't like what they are seeing.

In his case, the real Obama - a very vindictive, a very powerful, president of the United States who is throwing a tantrum.

Obama has ordered his Departments to make cuts in a way as to exaggerate the effects of cutting 2% off the government's more than $3 Trillion Dollar budget.

Supposedly a secret to the public, he has ordered all departments of the Federal government to make the public pay for not supporting him. But now, now Obama is finding out that his betrayal of the public's trust is being revealed.

Last week another federal employee has come forward to claim the Obama administration resisted efforts to ease the impact of sequester.

A U.S. park ranger, who did not wish to be identified, told Fox News that supervisors within the National Park Service overruled plans to deal with the budget cuts in a way that would have had minimal impact on the public. Instead, the source said, park staff were told to cancel special events and cut "interpretation services" -- the talks, tours and other education services provided by local park rangers.

"Apparently, they want the public to feel the pain," the ranger said.

The National Park Service is among many federal agencies warning of a major impact from the sequester cuts, which took effect last Friday. The agency has warned of delayed access to portions of Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks, closed campgrounds at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, reduced hours at the Grand Canyon visitor center and other ramifications.

The Obama administration says these cuts must be made in order to make the $85 billion in cuts from Congress' failure to avert the sequester. At the NPS, the agency was dealing with an across-the-board 5 percent cut.

Republicans have claimed the administration is making some cuts in order to exaggerate the impact. Lawmakers this past week revealed a leaked email from the Agriculture Department in which a field officer appeared to tell his team that he was instructed not to contradict the bosses' warnings about the cuts.

At the Park Service, the alleged incident occurred in one region and it's unclear whether other divisions were given similar guidance.

But a Park Service spokesman told Fox News he's "never heard of guidance given like that."

The spokesman said that like other agencies, the Park Service was absorbing a 5 percent cut in just seven months. It was also being forced to cut seasonal employees, which make up a big part of the department's labor costs. Doing this, he explained, would impact "interpretive programs and public events."

But he denied the claim there was any directive to make those cuts more visible to the public.

"There's not a ton of flexibility," he said, noting that most cuts will end up impacting visitors at some level. "Everything in parks is geared toward either the preservation of the resources or the needs of the visitors."

Joan Anzelmo, a former park superintendent in Colorado, also said that while it's possible one specific location was giving guidance to make sure the public sees the cuts, she doesn't think that was happening across the country.

She also said any cuts to services and staffing would be made in large part because the parks budgets do not have much "wiggle room."

"I would be hard pressed to be able to make those cuts as a superintendent and not have an impact to the public," said Anzelmo, now a spokeswoman for The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

Nonetheless, memos have surfaced from National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis appearing to show the agency put a priority on telling the public how the cuts would affect them.

One Jan. 25 memo, which was obtained and published by the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, showed Jarvis directing regional directors to carefully explain the "specific and tangible results" of the cuts as they submitted their cost-saving plans.

Jarvis wrote that agency officials expected the cuts to result in reduced visitor services, shortened seasons and other visible changes.

"Parks must be specific in their description and include the number of visitors affected and an indication of the effect on nearby communities and businesses," he wrote. "All other organizations should describe impacts in terms of diminished performance and reduced administrative services and oversight."

Another memo, dated Feb. 26th, railed against the "senseless, across-the-board budget cuts." Jarvis, in that memo, described "long-term and wide-ranging effects," while pledging to try to "mitigate" the impact.

The ranger who spoke to Fox, though, stressed that it was still just a 5% cut.

"It's obvious that they want the public to feel the pain in order to push this agenda that Washington wants," the ranger said. "A lot of these parks can absorb these cuts without the public's visit being affected."

60,000 Border and Customs Agents Told to Take Furloughs

Sixty-thousand federal employees responsible for securing the nation’s borders and facilitating trade will be furloughed for as many as 14 days starting next month because Obama is throwing a tantrum.

That's right, there will be 60,000 employees who will get two weeks off without pay starting soon. Let's make it clear that they are not losing their jobs, just take two weeks off without pay.

Since I worked for companies who laid-off people for much longer for two weeks at a time. Like many other Americans, I've been laid-off before. And like many of you out there right now, many times much longer than 2 weeks at a time throughout a year.

So no, I really don't see the problem here.

With roughly 20 Million Americans without jobs, including several million Americans with few job skills, I would think the option of being laid off for a couple of weeks is much more attractive than facing unemployment.

But than again, these are government employees and they are accustomed to stability. I guess starting next month, they can see how the rest of the nation lives and works.

The fastest growing employer today is the Federal Government, the Private Sector which pays the bulk of taxes faces this sort of situation all the time.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the furloughs would cause delays at ports of entry, including international arrivals at airports, and would reduce the number of border patrol officers on duty at any one time.

David Aguilar, the agency's deputy commissioner, said it must cut about $754 million by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

The agency plans to institute furloughs throughout its departments, a hiring freeze — and to reduce or eliminate overtime, compensatory time, travel and training.

Other federal agencies are following similar steps because of the spending cuts that took effect on March 1st through sequestration.

The Customs furloughs will begin in mid-April, with reductions in border patrol overtime starting on April 7, Burke said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Monday that she expects customs wait times to increase to 150 to 200 percent of normal, CNN said.

In other words, they are already slow as molasses - now we expect them even slower.

"I don't mean to scare, I mean to inform,” Napolitano said. “If you're traveling, get to the airport earlier than you otherwise would. There's only so much we can do with personnel.”

I don't trust Napolitano or anyone else in the Obama White House.

Late last month, Napolitano and other Obama administration officials came under fire — particularly from officials in Arizona — for the release of hundreds of illegal immigrants held in local jails to save money as the sequester neared.

Using the sequester to carry out Obama's vindictiveness, Napolitano has since promised to release more illegals saying the sequester had left her no choice.

Internal Homeland Security documents quoted in news reports indicated that 2,000 illegals had already been released by the time of the sequester - even before the sequester went into effect. And yes, internal documents show that officials planned a long time ago to let go 3,000 more.

The sequestration is just a convenient excuse for their shady behavior.

White House suspends public tours, but first family trips in full swing

Part and parcel of Obama’s government-by-tantrum where air travelers are threatened with three-hour delays, 3,000 illegal aliens are released from jail, aircraft carriers are not refueled, meat isn’t inspected and, as The Wall Street Journal writes, “eighth graders visiting from Illinois” are punished by the administration.

Visitors to the nation's capital looking for a White House public tour are out of luck starting this weekend, courtesy of what the Secret Service says is its own decision to deal with the sequester cuts.

But while the agency said it needed to pull officers off the tours for more pressing assignments, the budget ax didn't swing early or deep enough to curtail a host of recent Secret Service-chaperoned trips like President Obama's much-discussed Florida golf outing with Tiger Woods, first lady Michelle Obama's high-profile multi-city media appearances, or even daughter Malia Obama's New York dinner outing with a group of teenage friends.

Obama's pricey golf outings have been a particular target for Republicans who see them as examples of what they say are the administration's rather selective concerns with running up the tab of Secret Service resources.

On March 5th, Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert filed an amendment to a House resolution that would prohibit federal funds from being spent on Obama's golf trips until public tours of the White House resumed.

Gohmert referenced press reports pegging the U.S taxpayer cost of Obama's recent Florida golf outing with Tiger Woods at $1 Million.

Imagine that for a moment, he always talks about the rich when he spends our money, yours and mine to the tune of One Million Dollars so that he can play golf.

First, let's make it clear that Guiness Record Book should be contacted because Obama probably has the record for spend more of someone else's money on a round of golf, and second, let's also make it clear that when rich people go play golf they use their own money.

Rep. Louis Gohmert also cited press reports saying 341 federal workers could have been spared furloughs if Obama had stayed home and not played golf with Woods.

"The president's travel expenses alone, for the golfing outing with Tiger Woods, would pay for a year of White House visits," Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said Thursday. "So I suggest that perhaps he curtail the travel."

The price tag and draw on Secret Service resources involving promotional campaigns like Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative is less clear.

The Secret Service does not usually reveal how many agents and other resources are assigned to protective missions so it's not known just how much it cost taxpayers to ferry the first lady to events like her dance routine on Jimmy Fallon's show -- the highlight of a February 22nd media blitz in New York -- or her February 27-28 visit to Mississippi, Missouri and her hometown of Chicago.

Those trips would all have involved Secret Service details traveling with the first lady, as well as advance work by teams of agents on location.

When asked by Fox News if the first lady's office or schedule would be affected by the sequester, the White House issued a 100-word statement that made no mention of any specific cuts that might affect Michelle Obama's activities -- while making a generic reference to cuts affecting the "Executive Office of the President," which houses the first lady's office.

But let's get something straight, Obama is exempt from feeling the effects of any cuts.

President Obama won’t have to worry about his paycheck if the spending sequestration included in the Budget Control Act that he signed into law in 2011 begins taking effect this Friday.

A report published last month by the Congressional Research Service --“Budget Sequestration and Selected Program Exemptions and Special Rules" -- identifies certain programs that are exempt from sequestration and lays out special rules that govern the sequestration of others.

Section 255 of the Budget Control Act includes “Compensation for the President” as one of those exemptions (Page 19).

“Most exempt programs are mandatory, and include Social Security and Medicaid; refundable tax credits to individuals; and low-income programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Supplemental Security Income,” the report states.

“Some discretionary programs also are exempt, notably all programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs,” it said. “Also, subject to notification of Congress by the president, military personnel accounts may either be exempt or reduced by a lower percentage,” the report states.

The report states in a footnote that the White House notified Congress last year of President Obama's intention to exempt military personnel accounts from sequestration.

Pensions for former presidents are also exempt, according to the report.

The report states that “the effect of sequestration on any given program is subject to the interpretation of the law’s provisions by the Office of Management and Budget” -- which is part of the Executive branch.

Article 2, Section 1, Clause 7 of the Constitution says that the president's compensation shall not be increased or decreased during the time for which he is elected.

"The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected," says the Constitution, "and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them."
  So when White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked how the White House was cutting back, he declined to provide details about any potential furloughs or other cuts.

But on the decision to close the tours, he said "the President and the first lady have throughout the time that they've been here made extraordinary efforts to make this the people's house, and it is extremely unfortunate that we have a situation like the sequester that compels the kinds of trade offs and decisions that this represents."

It's also not clear what Secret Service resources were dedicated to the New York visit by 14-year-old Malia Obama, who was spotted dining with a group of friends at the New York restaurant Buddakan less than 24 hours after President Obama signed off on the sequester.

According to media reports, the group was chaperoned by four parents and five security guards who dined at the table directly next to them. There were also Secret Service agents in the restaurant, according to reports that said they stayed behind the group.

How much overtime these types of assignments cost the Secret Service may be an area of concern. Donovan told Fox News that overtime costs factored into the decision to shut down the White House tours.

By taking the 30 officers involved in the tours and assigning them to high-priority security posts, officers normally on those duties can log fewer hours -- in turn saving the Secret Service money.

"It reduces overtime costs overall for us," Donovan said.

The tours will not be rescheduled and will stay frozen until further notice.

That's bad news for groups like the sixth graders at St. Paul's Lutheran School in Iowa, who had been planning to take the White House tour on March 16th.

Fourteen students from that group and their teacher took their frustrations to Facebook. In a web video, they held up handmade posters and chanted, "The White House is our house."

Some Republicans in Congress expressed their displeasure with the cuts more forcefully.

"Canceling all self-guided White House tours is the latest shameless political stunt by the president, who is twisting basic government efficiency into an extreme consequence," Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., said in a statement March 5th.

Anyways you cut it, it's just a shameful situation.

And for a man who is always talking about doing things "for the children," Obama just proves that he's all talk and no action when it comes to actually doing something "for the children."

And ask yourself, since the maintaining the White House tours only costs $1800 a month, why can't we get some of the money to keep it going - from say what we taxpayers spend on the Obama family?

Taxpayers spent $1.4 billion on Obama family last year, perks questioned in new book

Most Americans are probably unaware of what goes with Air Force One when it goes somewhere. Please understand that it is not only Air Force One that goes with the president.

When the President goes anywhere in Air Force One, a large support contingent goes with him.  Along for the ride are many aides, administration and security personnel, medical personnel, communication and equipment maintenance people, and so on.

There are also many vehicles such as armoured limousines and other government vehicles for administration, communications, security and even an ambulance. Many trips, especially overseas, even helicopters are taken along with him.

To haul all this material and equipment around the world the U.S. Air Force provides four giant C-17 transport aircraft to carry everything the president needs.

I mean, let's be honest here, no one expects the President of the United States to carry his own teleprompters in his trunk.

And yes, so far we're only talking about what the president needs when he gets there.

On the way to wherever Air Force One is going, whether it's a campaign event in Denver or taking Michele Obama on a $700,000 taxpayer paid vacation in Spain, there are also two or more U.S. Air Force fighter jets that escort Air Force One along the route.  

On July 16th of 2012, it was reported that Obama used Air Force One to travel to a campaign rally near Richmond, Virginia, a location that was only 90 miles away from the White House.

At the time, his trip threw focus on the large expenses being borne by taxpayers as this President traverses the country to campaign and raise cash for his re-election campaign.

The cost of flying Air Force One is currently about $180,000 per hour, according to ABC News.
Did he need to take Air Force One and its entourage of plans, personnel, and equipment? No he didn't.

With a cruising speed of around 130 mph, Obama’s Marine One helicopter could easily have had the president at his location in 45 minutes at far lower cost to the taxpayer.

Obama used Marine One anyway to ferry him from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base, where he boarded his jet.

It’s possible there is some kind of security purpose to using Air Force One instead of Marine One, even though Obama flies his chopper several times a week. What’s more, Obama took Marine One on a trip of similar length in 2009 to Dover, Delaware.

George W. Bush who didn't travel as much as Obama used Marine One to ferry him to the Richmond area

Though Air Force One makes a more impressive entrance to a city hosting a presidential appearance, you would think he'd be at least a little concerned with cost.

His trip last July is emblematic of the approach Obama whose frequent use of Air Force One for campaign purposes has drained money from taxpayers while filling his campaign coffers.

In June of last year, Obama held 33 campaign fundraisers – about eight times the number held by Bush during his reelection effort in June 2004 – the whole time traveling literally from coast to coast to raise cash for himself.

All at our expense!

It was reported last September, 2012, author Robert Keith Gray writes in “Presidential Perks Gone Royal” that American Taxpayers spent $1.4 billion dollars on everything from staffing, housing, flying and entertaining President Obama and his family last year.

How much money is that? Well, in comparison, British taxpayers spent just $57.8 million on the royal family.

In the new book on taxpayer-funded presidential perks, author Robert Keith Gray researched and found that Obama isn’t the only president to have taken advantage of the expensive trappings of his office.

But the amount of money spent on the first family, he argues, has risen tremendously under Obama needs to be reined in.

Gray told The Daily Caller that the $1.4 billion spent on the Obama family last year is the “total cost of the presidency,” factoring the cost of the “biggest staff in history at the highest wages ever,” a 50 percent increase in the numbers of appointed czars and an Air Force One “running with the frequency of a scheduled air line.”

“The most concerning thing, I think, is the use of taxpayer funds to actually abet his re-election,” Gray, who worked in the Eisenhower administration and for other Republican presidents, said in an interview with TheDC on Wednesday.

“The press has been so slow in picking up on this extraordinary increase in the president’s expenses,” Gray told TheDC.

Specifically, Gray said taxpayer dollars are subsidized Obama’s re-election effort when he uses Air Force One to jet across the country campaigning.

When the trip is deemed political, it’s customary for the president to pay the equivalent of a first class commercial ticket for certain passengers.

But Gray says that hardly covers the taxpayer cost of flying the president and his staffers around on Air Force One.

“When the United States’ billion-dollar air armada is being used politically, is it fair to taxpayers that we only be reimbursed by the president’s campaign committee for the value of one first-class commercial ticket for each passenger who is deemed aboard ‘for political purposes?’” Gray asks in the book.

“And is that bargain-price advantage fair to those opposing an incumbent president?”

In the book, Gray admits Americans want their president to be safe and comfortable but argues that most Americans also want the system reformed to stop the amount of unquestioned perks given to the president.

“There is no mechanism for anyone’s objection if a president were to pay his chief of staff $5,000,000 a year,” he told TheDC. “And nothing but a president’s conscience can dissuade him from buying his own reelection with use of some public money.”

Aside from a salary, the president gets a $50,000 a year expense account, a $100,000 travel account, $19,000 entertainment budget and an additional $1 Million Dollars for “unanticipated needs,” he notes.

When Obama declares a stop to tours of the White House because it cost the taxpayers too much money to keep it open for tours, then maybe Obama can cut back on just one trip anywhere for the next four years.

At $180,000 an hour just for Air Force One, not counting the cost of all of the other planes, the vehicles, personnel and equipment, just one of his $4 Million Dollar trips to Hawaii  would keep the White House tours open for at least the next few years or so.

But I don't see that Spoil Brat and Chief doing that, after all he sees himself as Royalty and us the little people - his subjects.

Story by Tom Correa

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