Blame It on Global Cooling? Obama Has Lowest Average 1stQ GDP Growth of Any President on Record
By Terence P. Jeffrey | May 29, 2015 | 2:15 PM EDT
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Even if you leave out the first quarter of 2009—when the recession that started in December 2007 was still ongoing--President Barack Obama has presided over the lowest average first-quarter GDP growth of any president who has served since 1947, which is the earliest year for which the Bureau of Economic Analysis has calculated quarterly GDP growth.
In all first quarters since 1947, the real annual rate of growth of GDP has averaged 4.0 percent.
In the seven first quarters during Obama’s presidency, it has declined by an average of -0.43 percent. And if you leave out the first quarter of 2009 and look only at the first quarters of the six years since the recession ended, it has averaged only 0.4 percent.
In the six years of Harry Truman’s presidency for which the BEA has calculated quarterly GDP, the annual rate of growth in GDP in the first quarter averaged 4.5 percent.
During President Eisenhower’s eight years, it averaged 3.2 percent. During Kennedy’s three years, it averaged 4.9 percent. During Johnson’s five years, it averaged 8.3 percent. During Nixon’s six years, it averaged 5.3 percent. During Ford’s two years, it averaged 2.3 percent. During Carter’s four years, it average 2.4 percent. During Reagan’s eight years, it average 2.1 percent. During George H.W. Bush’s four years, it average 2.9 percent. During Clinton’s eight years, it averaged 2.6 percent. And during George W. Bush’s eight years, it averaged 1.7 percent.
Prisoner in van said Freddie Gray was ‘trying to injure himself,’ document says
By Peter Hermann April 29 at 9:10 PM
BALTIMORE — A prisoner sharing a police transport van with Freddie Gray told investigators that he could hear Gray “banging against the walls” of the vehicle and believed that he “was intentionally trying to injure himself,” according to a police document obtained by The Washington Post.
BALTIMORE IS A DEMOCRAT PROBLEM, NOT AMERICA’S PROBLEM
AP PhotoThe Associated Press
by JOHN NOLTE28 Apr 20151893
Contrary to the emotional blackmail some leftists are attempting to peddle, Baltimore is not America’s problem or shame. That failed city is solely and completely a Democrat problem. Like many failed cities, Detroit comes to mind, and every city besieged recently by rioting, Democrats and their union pals have had carte blanche to inflict their ideas and policies on Baltimore since 1967, the last time there was a Republican Mayor.
In 2012, after four years of his own failed policies, President Obama won a whopping 87.4% of the Baltimore City vote. Democrats run the city of Baltimore, the unions, the schools, and, yes, the police force. Since 1969, there have only been only been two Republican governors of the State of Maryland.
Elijah Cummings has represented Baltimore in the U.S. Congress for more than thirty years. As I write this, despite his objectively disastrous reign, the Democrat-infested mainstream media is treating the Democrat like a local folk hero, not the obvious and glaring failure he really is.
Every single member of the Baltimore city council is a Democrat.
Liberalism and all the toxic government dependence and cronyism and union corruption and failed schools that comes along with it, has run amok in Baltimore for a half-century, and that is Baltimore’s problem. It is the free people of Baltimore who elect and then re-elect those who institute policies that have so spectacularly failed that once-great city. It is the free people of Baltimore who elected Mayor Room-To-Destroy.
You can call the arson and looting and violence we are seeing on our television screens, rioting. That’s one way to describe the chaos. Another way to describe it is Democrat infighting. This is blue-on-blue violence. The thugs using the suspicious death of Freddie Gray (at the hands of a Democrat-led police de
Heed the signs, de Blasio
By Michael GoodwinApril 29, 2015 | 12:23am
Here’s hoping Mayor de Blasio isn’t too busy playing political games and barnstorming the country to absorb the right lessons from the Baltimore riots. If he’s paying attention, he’ll learn a thing or two about policing and that the bloody price of failed leadership is paid by innocent families and businesses.
The disgraceful orders for cops to disappear or stand by and watch as rioters, looters and arsonists had their way should never be repeated anywhere again. Nor should any mayor talk, as Baltimore’s foolishly did, about giving “those who wished to destroy space to do that.”
Those painful lessons are especially relevant to New York now because de Blasio pal Al Sharpton and wackos in the City Council are pushing the mayor to roll back “Broken Windows” policing. Apart from a welcome but incomplete statement of support for Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, de Blasio is asleep on the job.
Baltimore should be his wake-up call. It shows that handcuffing the cops ultimately leads to more violence and crime, not less, and ends up with the National Guard patrolling the streets like a war zone.
Yes, that could happen here, too.
Indeed, the anti-police agenda — the same agenda that carried de Blasio into City Hall — helped to create the atmosphere where criminals were free to roam across much of Baltimore for days. The rioters’ excuse, that they were protesting after a young black man died under unexplained circumstances in police custody, was just that — an excuse. Almost as infuriating was that officials let them get away with it.
The answer in Baltimore, and in all cities
Clinton Foundation reportedly failed to disclose identities of 1,100 donors
Published April 29, 2015
A charity tied with the Clinton Foundation reportedly failed to reveal the identities of at least 1,100 donors, in the latest detail to emerge about the group's finances following days of intense public scrutiny.
The Canada-based Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership could be a potential gateway for anonymous Clinton Foundation donations from foreign business leaders because Canadian law prohibits charities from disclosing individual donors without their permission.
The Washington Post reports the partnership sends much of its money to the Clinton Foundation, and reported the latest information about undisclosed donors.
A spokeswoman for the Canadian group told the Washington Post the majority of the 1,100 donors gave small donations while attending a 2008 fundraising event.
Two of the partnership's most-known donors – the group’s founder and mining executive Frank Giustra and another miner Ian Tefler – are featured in a tell-all book “Clinton Cash” for their roles in deals that resulted in Russia being in control of many of the world’s uranium deposits.
The partnership has recently begun to reach out to more than 25 of its largest donors to seek permission to reveal their names. The paper reports that those donors have given at least $250,000 to the organization.
The 2016 Blast
The latest POLITICO scoops and coverage of the 2016 elections.
By JONATHAN TOPAZ and BEN SCHRECKINGER 4/28/15 6:14 PM EDT
THE CLOCK: 560 days until Election Day 2016...
BILL AND CHELSEA'S AFRICAN ADVENTURE: POLITICO's Annie Karni reports: On their nine-day trip to Africa, Bill and Chelsea Clinton are traveling with 20 wealthy donors and supporters, some of whom have also been fundraising for HILLARY CLINTON's presidential bid and others who are expected to give big to her campaign.
181 Clinton Foundation donors who lobbied Hillary's State Department
Updated by Jonathan Allen on April 28, 2015, 7:10 a.m. ET
The size and scope of the symbiotic relationship between the Clintons and their donors is striking. At least 181 companies, individuals, and foreign governments that have given to the Clinton Foundation also lobbied the State Department when Hillary Clinton ran the place, according to a Vox analysis of foundation records and federal lobbying disclosures.
The following chart shows entities that donated to the foundation and lobbied the State Department during Hillary Clinton's tenure. The totals include funding from both the corporate and charitable arms of listed companies (the Gates and Walton foundations are named to illustrate that point). The chart does not account for contributions made by executives, and it may omit some companies who made contributions or lobbied through subsidiaries.
Did you hear the one about the Muslim, socialist, Kenyan president? The joke Obama can’t stop telling.
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By Hunter Schwarz April 26
President Obama laughs during the monologue by comedian Cecily Strong at the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on April 25, 2015. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
If there's one thing we can count on from President Obama at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner every year, it's him making jokes about being Muslim, foreign-born and socialist.
On Saturday, he joked about how busy he is, dealing with immigration, vetoes and Iran -- all while finding time to pray five times a day. And then there was the one about how if Bernie Sanders became president, we'd have a "third Obama term after all" ("Apparently, some folks really want to see a pot-smoking socialist in the White House," he said).
The jokes Obama tells every year(3:38)
Year after year, President Obama jokes about being Muslim, foreign-born and socialist at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner. (The Washington Post)
[The best moments from the 2015 White House Correspondents' Dinner]
He got lots of laughs, but if you look back at all of his other routines, you'll notice he has made similar jokes before. Not just once. Not just twice. Every. Single. Year. If it's not broken, don't fix it, right
Baltimore Police: Gangs Enter Partnership to ‘Take-Out’ Officers
April 27, 2015 11:40 AM
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WASHINGTON — The Baltimore Police Department says they have received a credible threat that numerous gangs have entered into a partnership to “take-out” law enforcement officers.
According to the department, they have received credible information that various gangs including the Black Guerilla Family, Bloods and Crips have entered into the partnership.
“Law enforcement agencies should take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of their officers,” the departments says in a press release.
Charity watchdog: Clinton Foundation a ‘slush fund’
By Isabel VincentApril 26, 2015 | 7:47am
Charity watchdog: Clinton Foundation a ‘slush fund’
The Clinton Foundation’s finances are so messy that the nation’s most influential charity watchdog put it on its “watch list” of problematic nonprofits last month.
The Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid.
The group spent the bulk of its windfall on administration, travel, and salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family friends.
On its 2013 tax forms, the most recent available, the foundation claimed it spent $30 million on payroll and employee benefits; $8.7 million in rent and office expenses; $9.2 million on “conferences, conventions and meetings”; $8 million on fund-raising; and nearly $8.5 million on travel. None of the Clintons are on the payroll, but they do enjoy first-class flights paid for by the Foundation.
The news today about the Clintons all fleshes out, in one way or another, their lack of interest in policing serious conflict-of-interest problems that arise in their overlapping roles:
The New York Times has a report about the State Department’s decision to approve the sale of Uranium mines to a Russian company that donated $2.35 million to the Clinton Global Initiative, and that a Russian investment bank promoting the deal paid Bill $500,000 for a speech in Moscow.
The Washington Post reports that Bill Clinton has received $26 million in speaking fees from entities that also donated to the Clinton Global Initiative.
The Washington Examiner reports, “Twenty-two of the 37 corporations nominated for a prestigious State Department award — and six of the eight ultimate winners — while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State were also donors to the Clinton family foundation.”
And Reuters reports, “Hillary Clinton's family's charities are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments, and said they may audit other Clinton Foundation returns in case of other errors.”
Congressional report: IRS sabotaged its own customer service funding
Apr. 22, 2015 10:39am Pete Kasperowicz
House Republicans are charging that the IRS purposefully slashed its own funding for customer service activities, and that these cuts — not those imposed by Congress — are to blame for a new low in customer service that even the IRS commissioner has called “abysmal.”
The House Ways & Means Committee released a report Wednesday that said the IRS is on pace to cut about three-quarters of its “taxpayer services” fund in 2015. That’s a cut of $134 million, and that cut came from a source of money that the IRS controls, not Congress.
At the same time, the IRS has handed out $60 million in bonuses, instead of deciding to use that money to sustain its customer service budget.
These findings were released after several weeks in which IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has blamed budget cuts imposed by Congress over the last few years for cuts to taxpayer services. Koskinen has admitted that people will have a much harder time getting phone support as they do their taxes, and earlier this month, he said the IRS has hung up on millions of taxpayers trying to ask for advice over the phone.
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) said at a Wednesday hearing with Koskinen that Congress didn’t cut taxpayer service at all from 2014 to 2015, and that the blame for poor service should fall on the IRS, not Congress.
“The amount of money Congress appropriated to the IRS for taxpayer assistance was the same this year as last year, but the level of service has decreased drastically,” he said.
“So what happened?” he asked. “The IRS made the decision to move money away from taxpayer assistance.”
House report: Cash-strapped IRS prioritized bonuses, union activity over helping taxpayers
Published April 22, 2015
June 10, 2014: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen speaks at IRS headquarters in Washington. (AP)
While facing budget cuts, the IRS nevertheless prioritized worker bonuses, union activity and the implementation of President Obama’s health care law over assisting taxpayers during tax season, according to a new report released Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee.
The IRS has faced congressional budget cuts of $1.2 billion since 2010, and has faced criticism in recent years over the targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status and reports of wasteful spending. The new report said the cuts were intended to “force the IRS to manage its resources more effectively and immediately stop inappropriate activities.”
However, while cuts were made in part to focus the agency on customer service, the report asserted that “spending decisions entirely under the IRS’s control led to 16 million fewer taxpayers receiving IRS assistance this filing season.”
The panel found the IRS had cut customer services while continuing to hand out bonuses to employees, allowing staff to conduct union activities, failing to collect debt owed by employees of the federal government and spending over $1.2 billion on implementing ObamaCare.
Even though the IRS’s budget for taxpayer assistance remained flat from fiscal year 2014 to 2015, the level of over-the-phone customer service significantly decreased, with the agency shifting staff in customer service to focus on written correspondence instead of telephone calls. Meanwhile, the number of calls doubled in that period.
The panel found that wait times increased
Did Susan Rice Disclose Classified Info on Iran?
9:16 AM, APR 21, 2015 • BY JERYL BIER
Bloomberg's Eli Lake reports Tuesday that the Obama administration kept secret until the beginning of April Iran's two to three month breakout time for a nuclear weapon, saying "the administration only declassified this estimate at the beginning of the month, just in time for the White House to make the case for its Iran deal to Congress and the public."
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, speaking to reporters on Monday, said that the administration has held this assessment for "quite some time." Lake says that Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed Monday "that the two-to-three-month estimate for fissile material was declassified on April 1."
However, at least one member of the administration publicly spoke about the two-to-three-month breakout time frame prior to April. On March 2, 2015, National Security Advisor Susan Rice addressed the annual AIPAC meeting and said the following [emphasis added]:
This is my third point—a good deal is one that would verifiably cut off every pathway for Iran to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. Every single one.
Any deal must prevent Iran from developing weapons-grade plutonium at Arak, or anywhere else.
Any deal must prevent Iran from enriching uranium at its nuclear facility at Fordow—a site we uncovered buried deep underground and revealed to the world in 2009
How foreign cash made Bill and Hillary ‘filthy rich’
By Bob FredericksApril 20, 2015 | 10:48pm
How foreign cash made Bill and Hillary ‘filthy rich’
Hillary Rodham Clinton used her clout as secretary of state to do favors for foreign donors who gave millions to her family foundation — and who paid millions more to her husband, Bill, in speaking fees, a new book charges.
Records show that of the $105 million the former president raked in from speeches over 12 years, about half came during his wife’s four-year tenure at the State Department.
The claims in “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” come just a week after she launched her presidential campaign.
They raise questions about shady foreign money flowing into the Clinton Foundation — and what actions Hillary took in her official capacity in exchange for the cash.
“During Hillary’s years of public service, the Clintons have conducted or facilitated hundreds of large transactions,” writes author Peter Schweizer, according to The New York Times, which first reported the story.
“Some of these transactions have put millions in their own pockets.”
State Department won’t rule out $50B ‘signing bonus’ for Iran
By Adam KredoPublished April 21, 2015Washington Free Beacon
The State Department on Monday would not rule out giving Iran up to $50 billion as a so-called "signing bonus" for agreeing to a nuclear deal later this year, according to comments made to journalists following reports that the Obama administration had formulated a plan to release tens of billions of frozen Iranian funds.
Experts have said this multi-billion dollar "signing bonus" option, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, could be the largest cash infusion to a terror-backing regime in recent memory.
A cash release of $30 to $50 billion upon reaching a final nuclear agreement would come in addition to the more than $11 billion in unfrozen assets that Iran will already have received under an interim nuclear accord reached in 2013.
When asked to address these reports on Monday, State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf attempted to dodge the issue and then accused reporters of getting "spun up" on the issue.
Asked whether Iran could receive $50 billion "on day one after signing" or verbally agreeing to a nuclear deal, Harf told reporters that she would "look into it."
When pressed to provide an answer about the Journal's initial report, Harf declined "to go line by line in the story."
Harf said sanctions relief to Iran will continue through June 30.
BREAKING: US Carrier Battle Group Moving to Intercept Iranian Ships Carrying Weapons to Yemen
By Reagan Wilson on April 20, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 2.32.46 PM
It is being reported that the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt along with a group of 9 other US warships are moving into position to intercept a convoy of multiple Iranian ships off the coast of Yemen in the Gulf of Aden.
The ships are preparing to intercept ships from Iran which are thought to be carrying weapons to radical Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The rebellion in Yemen has destabilized the country and led to the US and several other western countries pulling all citizens out of the region.
some of today's headlines:
EL CHEAPO: Hillary campaign low-balls Spanish-speaking donors...
Obama issues 500,000 SSNs to illegals...
PAPER: CLINTON IOWA STOP STAGED...
Foundation to Keep Foreign Donors...
NOT READY TO UNVEIL POLICIES...
O'Malley Slams: 'History Celebrates Profiles in Courage, Not Profiles in Convenience'...
MILLS, HUMA, BLUMENTHAL ASKED TO TESTIFY ON HILL...
Dispute over credit for who filmed campaign launch video...
Asked to sign pledge NOT to accept donations from regimes that oppress women...
Valerie Jarrett Kisses Reporters Before Interview
8:05 AM, APR 15, 2015 • BY DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama's top adviser, Valerie Jarrett, went around the table and kissed reporters before an interview this morning on MNSBC's Morning Joe. The moment was briefly captured on live television before the network cut away to a commercial break.
Jarrett's first step is toward the BBC's Katty Kay. "Hi, there," Jarrett's heard whispering as she leans in for a hug and kiss. Kay is "Anchor for BBC World News America in Washington."
Then the senior White House adviser just as warmly greets Cokie Roberts, a National Public Radio contirbutor.
As the segment heads toward a commercial break, host Joe Scarborough can be heard saying, "Valerie, come give me a hug."
Hillary Clinton Was Asked About Email 2 Years Ago NYT
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDTAPRIL 14, 2015
WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton was directly asked by congressional investigators in a December 2012 letter whether she had used a private email account while serving as secretary of state, according to letters obtained by The New York Times.
But Mrs. Clinton did not reply to the letter. And when the State Department answered in March 2013, nearly two months after she left office, it ignored the question and provided no response.
The query was posed to Mrs. Clinton in a Dec. 13, 2012, letter from Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Mr. Issa was leading an investigation into how the Obama administration handled its officials’ use of personal email.
“Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business?” Mr. Issa wrote to Mrs. Clinton. “If so, please identify the account used.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton's announcement that she will run for president establishes her as the likely Democratic standard-bearer in 2016.Hillary Clinton Starts to Detail Rationale for Run as Campaign BeginsAPRIL 12, 2015
Mr. Issa also asked Mrs. Clinton, “Does the agency require employees to certify on a periodic basis or at the end of their employment with the agency they h