Another week, another Texas flood. Try to stay dry and enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm:
Archive for the ‘Obama Scandals’ Category
This is one of those bad new/good news things:
I write this from the hospital. Seems I have lung cancer.
My doctors tell me my growth was caught early and I’ll be fine. Soon I will barely notice that a fifth of my lung is gone. I believe them. After all, I’m at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. U.S. News & World Report ranked it No. 1 in New York. I get excellent medical care here.
Cancer sucks, catching it early doesn’t. But it being Stossel, he has some observations on the process:
But as a consumer reporter, I have to say, the hospital’s customer service stinks. Doctors keep me waiting for hours, and no one bothers to call or email to say, “I’m running late.” Few doctors give out their email address. Patients can’t communicate using modern technology.
I get X-rays, EKG tests, echocardiograms, blood tests. Are all needed? I doubt it. But no one discusses that with me or mentions the cost. Why would they? The patient rarely pays directly. Government or insurance companies pay.
And ObamaCare hasn’t made it any better.
Customer service is sclerotic because hospitals are largely socialist bureaucracies. Instead of answering to consumers, which forces businesses to be nimble, hospitals report to government, lawyers and insurance companies.
Whenever there’s a mistake, politicians impose new rules: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act paperwork, patient rights regulations, new layers of bureaucracy…
Leftists say the solution to such problems is government health care. But did they not notice what happened at Veterans Affairs? Bureaucrats let veterans die, waiting for care. When the scandal was exposed, they didn’t stop. USA Today reports that the abuse continues. Sometimes the VA’s suicide hotline goes to voicemail.
Patients will have a better experience only when more of us spend our own money for care. That’s what makes markets work.
Among my first thoughts when the Panama papers scandal broke was “How soon until until this is tied to the Clintons?”
The answer seems to be about four days:
The revelations of the so-called Panama Papers that are roiling the world’s political and financial elites this week include important facts about Team Clinton. This unprecedented trove of documents purloined from a shady Panama law firm that arranged tax havens, and perhaps money laundering, for the globe’s super-rich includes juicy insights into how Russia’s elite hides its ill-gotten wealth.
Almost lost among the many revelations is the fact that Russia’s biggest bank uses The Podesta Group as its lobbyist in Washington, D.C. Though hardly a household name, this firm is well known inside the Beltway, not least because its CEO is Tony Podesta, one of the best-connected Democratic machers in the country. He founded the firm in 1998 with his brother John, formerly chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, then counselor to President Barack Obama, Mr. Podesta is the very definition of a Democratic insider. Outsiders engage the Podestas and their well-connected lobbying firm to improve their image and get access to Democratic bigwigs.
Which is exactly what Sberbank, Russia’s biggest financial institution, did this spring. As reported at the end of March, the Podesta Group registered with the U.S. Government as a lobbyist for Sberbank, as required by law, naming three Podesta Group staffers: Tony Podesta plus Stephen Rademaker and David Adams, the last two former assistant secretaries of state. It should be noted that Tony Podesta is a big-money bundler for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign while his brother John is the chairman of that campaign, the chief architect of her plans to take the White House this November.
Sberbank (Savings Bank in Russian) engaged the Podesta Group to help its public image—leading Moscow financial institutions not exactly being known for their propriety and wholesomeness—and specifically to help lift some of the pain of sanctions placed on Russia in the aftermath of the Kremlin’s aggression against Ukraine, which has caused real pain to the country’s hard-hit financial sector.
It’s hardly surprising that Sberbank sought the help of Democratic insiders like the Podesta Group to aid them in this difficult hour, since they clearly understand how American politics work. The question is why the Podesta Group took Sberbank’s money. That financial institution isn’t exactly hiding in the shadows—it’s the biggest bank in Russia, and its reputation leaves a lot to be desired. Nobody acquainted with Russian finance was surprised that Sberbank wound up in the Panama Papers.
though Sberbank has its origins in the nineteenth century, it was functionally reborn after the Soviet collapse, and it the 1990s it grew to be the dominant bank in the country, today controlling nearly 30 percent of Russia’s aggregate banking assets and employing a quarter-million people. The majority stockholder in Sberbank is Russia’s Central Bank. In other words, Sberbank is functionally an arm of the Kremlin, although it’s ostensibly a private institution.
John and Tony Podesta aren’t fooling anyone with this ruse. They are lobbyists for Vladimir Putin’s personal bank of choice, an arm of his Kremlin and its intelligence services. Since the brothers Podesta are presumably destined for very high-level White House jobs next January if the Democrats triumph in November at the polls, their relationship with Sberbank is something they—and Hillary Clinton—need to explain to the public.
So in summary: Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager is a registered lobbyist for Vladimir Putin.
The Clintons generate corruption and conflict of interest the way bees make honey…
Could the facade of inevitability that Hillary Clinton built up crack wide open?
First comes word that Clinton is almost even with Bernie Sanders nationwide, leading a mere 43% to 39%. (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
Add to that the fact that the most recent polls in Iowa show the race there tied after Hillary being up some 40 points a few points ago.
In New Hampshire, recent polls have Sanders up anywhere from 3 to 14 points.
And even though Clinton has raised more money, Sanders has done very well in fundraising, bringing in $33 million in the final quarter and $73 million for all of 2015. That’s not the fundraising total of someone running a token campaign. A huge number of Democrats (more than 2.3 million of them, a number which surpasses Obama’s 2011 reelection efforts) believe in Sanders enough to donate to his campaign.
Finally, Sanders just got endorsed by MoveOn.org. The irony here, of course, is that MoveOn was created entirely as a medium for attack proponents of Bill Clinton’s impeachment for lying under oath and obstruction of justice. Given their genesis as an extension of the Clintons, it’s a surprise that MoveOn has moved on from them.
Hillary’s campaign was always predicated on her supposed inevitability, her fundraising prowess, her supposed viability, and voter familiarity with her due to her extremely high profile. But with a myriad array of ongoing scandals dogging her (Benghazi, her email server, the Clinton Foundation “pay for play” donations, etc.), familiarity seems to have bred contempt among a large number of Democratic Party faithful.
And one additional scandal not her own, rape and sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, have brought renewed scrutiny to Bill Clinton’s serial sexual assault and rape allegations, bringing up Hillary’s complicity in smearing Bill’s accusers, as well as turning one of Hillary’s biggest potential assets (having the once-popular 42nd President campaign for her) into a potential liability.
Finally, 2016 is shaping up to be The Year of the Outsider, when voters on both sides of the political spectrum said “Enough!”, embracing the unscripted bluntness of Donald Trump over the poll-focused banalities so beloved by consultants and the chattering classes. Hillary proved less than overwhelmingly popular with Democratic Party voters in 2008, and there’s precious little reason to believe she’s gotten more popular since then. She’s not a bright fresh face, and she lacks both Obama’s personal magnetism and his unique appeal to both black voters and white liberal guilt.
If Democratic Party voters decide that Bernie Sanders is a viable candidate, then he’s a viable candidate for the nomination. It may simply come down to the fact that Democrats wish to cast their votes for a candidate without feeling they need to take a shower afterwards.
So the NSA spied on congress in the course of spying on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
NSA snooping allegedly found Netanyahu and his aides leaked details of the negotiations gained through Israeli spying, coordinated talking points with Jewish-American groups against the deal and asked those lawmakers who were undecided on the deal how it could get their vote, according to the report.
The administration decided that monitoring Netanyahu served a “compelling national security purpose,” according to the Journal, which cited unnamed current and former U.S. officials.
Of course, the “compelling national security purpose” was that Netanyahu was making Obama look bad by opposing his asinine Iran nuke deal.
When you’re as lawless as the Obama Administration, and spy on as many people as the NSA spies on, Stuff Happens. Including, evidently, Separation of Powers violations.
Is there any abuse of power by the Obama Administration that would surprise us at this point?
(Hat tip: Instapundit.)