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Obama administration Tag

As President Obama spends the remainder of his presidency pardoning trangenders who disclosed vital security information, appointing fabulists to key positions, and releasing dangerous Gitmo detainees, people are beginning to mull over what we will remember most about this era. I assert that the damage caused by the rogue bureaucracy within the Environmental Protection Agency will float to the top of legacy cesspool. So, while Democratic politicos grill Scott Pruitt, the candidate likely to head the EPA in the Trump administration, the agency has finished its misrule under Obama appropriately enough.

In the final days of his presidency, President Obama commuted most of the remaining sentence for intelligence leaker Bradley (Chelsea) Manning. Manning, who has served seven years of a thirty-five-year sentence, will be released by May 17 of this year. White House Press Secretary Joshua Earnest was asked why Manning's sentence was commuted while fellow intel leaker, Edward Snowden's, application for clemency has not yet been accepted:

The Obama administration's agencies are in a frenzy of activity as they push new regulations before Obama leaves office in January. Republicans, however, are warning against such activity, saying that they will overturn them via the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Politico reports:
Federal agencies are rushing out a final volley of executive actions in the last two months of Barack Obama’s presidency, despite warnings from Republicans in Congress and the reality that Donald Trump will have the power to erase much of their handiwork after Jan. 20. Regulations on commodities speculation, air pollution from the oil industry, doctors’ Medicare drug payments and high-skilled immigrant workers are among the rules moving through the pipeline as Obama’s administration grasps at one last chance to cement his legacy. So are regulations tightening states’ oversight of online colleges and protecting funding for Planned Parenthood.

President-Elect Donald Trump is probably experiencing the shortest honeymoon in American political history. He is the target of massive protests and the focus of riotous mobs, before he even takes the oath of office let alone signs his first law or executive order. Furthermore, he is taking no time off when it comes to preparing his team to undo the Obama Administration's economy-crushing policies. Case-in-point: Trump is looking for ways to extract the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement.
A source on Trump’s transition team told Reuters that the team was looking for ways to bypass the procedure to leave the Paris accord, which was agreed upon last December. Trump has previously stated his disbelief in global warming. Other global governments, including China, have expressed their reaffirming support for the deal. "It was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election,” the source told Reuters on Tuesday.

On the day before early voting began in Arizona, Obama's Department of Justice decided to pursue charges against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a widely known opponent of illegal immigration. This is nothing short of stunning. The Associated Press reports, via NBC News:
Feds to Pursue Contempt Charges Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio Prosecutors said Tuesday they will charge Sheriff Joe Arpaio with criminal contempt-of-court for defying a judge's orders to end his signature immigration patrols in Arizona, exposing the 84-year-old lawman to the possibility of jail time and clouding his political future as he seeks a seventh term.

Before the Obamas could even move out of the White House at the end of the term, the president's legacy is unveiling itself across the Muslim World. From Mediterranean Sea to Persian Gulf, the forces of Radical Islam continue to score one triumph after another. Once reduced to hunted fugitives by President George W. Bush's military campaign of 2001, the emboldened Taliban fighters have once again raised the Islamist battle cry of 'Allahu Akbar' as they embark on a nationwide offensive to wrestle back control of Afghanistan. Taliban fighters have captured most of central Kunduz city, a strategically important city some 200 miles north-west of Afghan capital of Kabul, claims French news agency AFP. French television channel France24 showed footage of Taliban fighters in the centre of the city after having run over the city's defences -- before one could say Afghan National Army. Government forces still control the city's airport and started preparations to repel the Taliban out of Kunduz, French report claims.

Despite France's recent acknowledgement that it fights Islamic terrorism on a daily basis and last year's warning that ISIS has targeted our refugee program, the Obama administration has announced that it is has raised the refugee target for 2017 to "at least 110,000." The Washington Post reports:
The Obama administration will seek to accept 110,000 refugees from around the world in fiscal 2017, according to Secretary of State John F. Kerry. Kerry briefed lawmakers Tuesday on the new goal, which is an increase from 85,000 in fiscal 2016 and 70,000 in the previous three years. It represents a 57 percent increase in refugee arrivals since 2015, as ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere have spurred an exodus of migrants seeking asylum in Europe, Canada and other regions.

Although we haven't heard much about it recently, the VA scandal is very much alive and well. The National Review published an article about the wide-ranging problems with the VA in April of this year.  Here's a quick reminder, neatly encapsulated in NR's review of VA-related stories:
The Veterans Affairs–scandal headlines speak for themselves. The Daily Beast: “Veteran Burned Himself Alive outside VA Clinic”; “Dead veterans canceling their own appointments?”; New York Times: “Report Finds Sharp Increase in Veterans Denied V.A. Benefits,” “More than 125,000 U.S. veterans are being denied crucial mental health services,” and “Rubio, Miller ask committee to back VA accountability bills.” Two years ago this week [April, 2016]— thanks to courageous whistleblowers in Phoenix and a fed-up House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman — the world was finally exposed to rampant VA dysfunction and corruption. Dozens of veterans had died while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA — which was, unfortunately, just the tip of the iceberg. Across the country, VA officials had manipulated lists to hide real health-care wait times. In total, thousands — and possibly far more — met the same fate: waiting, and dying, at the hands of a calcified and soulless bureaucracy. Investigations were launched, and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki eventually resigned.
Rather than attempting to correct a wide array of serious problems--ranging from incompetence to corruption, the VA has instead and in defiance of a 2014 law  "quietly" stopped sending performance data to a national database for consumers.

Since the revelation that the Obama Administration forked over $400 million to Iran in exchange for right around the time American hostages were released, speculation that the cash was a ransom payment has dogged the administration and the Justice Department. Timing is everything, especially in determining what really went down. New reports suggest the $400 million was held until after the Americans were released from Iranian custody, making the whole ordeal look an awful lot like a ransom payment and subsequent prisoner release. The Obama Administration denied the payment was ransom, but said it was part of $1.7 billion settlement from 1979.

While President Obama and his administration have spent more than a year assuring everyone that Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) is ‘on the run’, the reality has been doggedly telling us something else altogether. While Obama administration would like us to believe that its strategy -- or rather lack thereof -- has somehow ‘contained’ ISIS, the self-proclaimed Islamic Caliphate has been spreading like an ugly rash, with new terrorist bases and strongholds popping up across the map. NBC has obtained a copy of a classified ‘heat map’ showing the global expansion of ISIS. The document dated August 2016 is reportedly part of the White House briefings prepared by National Counterterrorism Center. According to the report, ISIS now has bases in 18 countries. The map shows branches of ISIS extending wide over Middle East, Africa and Far-East Asia. If the document is to be believed, ISIS now has a bridge head in continental Europe with its base in Russia's North Caucasus.

Iran has been making repeated attempts to acquire nuclear-, chemical- and biological weapons technology from Germany, reveals the annual domestic intelligence report published by the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) last week. According to the report, last year Iran made 141 attempts to illegally secure technologies related to [nuclear, chemical, biological] proliferation in the state of NRW alone. This indicates an almost 100 percent rise compared to 83 such attempts in 2014. If this intelligence report is to be believed, than German government was aware of Iran’s continued efforts to acquire Nuclear and WMD technologies while it was pushing for a Nuclear Deal with Tehran 0n the world stage. Chancellor Merkel’s Government enthusiastically backed Obama-sponsored Nuclear Deal and was one of the six countries that worked out a nuclear agreement with Iran last year.

Even though his official campaign for the presidency is over, Ted Cruz isn't taking a vacation. Last Tuesday Cruz began conducting a hearing:
...investigating...“Willful Blindness: Consequences of Agency Efforts To Deemphasize Radical Islam in Combating Terrorism.”... This hearing will likely focus on which figures within the federal government worked to squelch any research connecting the dots between local Muslim Brotherhood officials, these individual terrorists, and foreign terror networks. Senators on the committee now have an opportunity to expose the Muslim Brotherhood influence within DHS and the FBI, their invidious “Countering Violent Extremism” Agenda, and their hand in covering up counter-terrorism investigations. They can demonstrate how the federal government has hamstrung local law enforcement by refusing to cooperate and share information regarding jihadists living in their communities.
One question is whether anyone's listening except those already disposed to be concerned about how the Obama administration is handling the problem.

Back in 2014, the Obama administration announced its plan to "give up its last remaining authority over the technical management of the internet" by giving "the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an international nonprofit group, control over the database of names and addresses that allows computers around the world to connect to each other." The response in many quarters was less than enthusiastic. The New Republic noted at the time:
A Wall Street Journal columnist described it as “America’s Internet surrender.” Said one member of Congress: “Giving up control of ICANN will allow countries like China and Russia, that don’t place the same value in freedom of speech, to better define how the internet looks and operates.”

The Pentagon is preparing to announce a lift of the ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military on July 1st. The left will undoubtedly hail this as a sign of progress but it turns years of policy on its head and raises a host of issues. Will transgender troops be allowed to choose which barracks they live in? Which bathrooms will they use? These may sound like trivial questions but military life doesn't afford much privacy. USA Today reports:
Ban on transgender troops to be lifted July 1 The Pentagon plans to announce the repeal of its ban on transgender service members July 1, a controversial decision that would end nearly a year of internal wrangling among the services on how to allow those troops to serve openly, according to Defense officials.

The number of illegal aliens flooding into the country has been alarming for quite some time and more so in the past couple of years.  This year, however, is shaping up to be a banner year with the number of illegals streaming across the border already topping the number for the entirety of last year, though not quite at 2014 levels. The Washington Times reports:
The number of illegal immigrant families jumping the border so far this fiscal year has already topped all of 2015, according to Homeland Security statistics released Friday that show the administration’s border problems continue to grow. Some 6,788 people traveling as families were caught on the southwest border in May — a leap of more than 20 percent over April, and putting the total for the first eight months of the fiscal year at nearly 45,000. That’s already well above the 2015 yearlong total of fewer than 40,000, though it’s short of the record pace set in 2014, when a massive surge exposed massive holes in the U.S. immigration system.
To add to the problem, illegal alien adults are purportedly abducting children as they head for our southern border so that they can pose as "families" . . . all the better to take advantage of Obama's lax "catch and release" policies for illegal immigrant families.

Over fifty members of the Obama administration have signed a memo urging the president to take a more aggressive approach to Syria. The signers, who are all diplomats, recommend an increase in airstrikes. The New York Times reports:
51 U.S. Diplomats Urge Strikes Against Assad in Syria More than 50 State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country’s five-year-old civil war.
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