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Obama Political Appointees to Continue as Career Employees Under Trump

After President Barack Obama exits office, at least 88 of his political appointees will likely remain working in the federal government under a Donald Trump administration, according to numbers from the Office of Personnel Management.

From Jan. 1, 2010, through Sept. 30, 2016, federal agencies selected 112 political appointees for career civil service jobs. Of those, the Office of Personnel Management approved 88 and rejected 24.

Unlike political appointees, federal workers in the civil service system are hired through a merit system, are difficult to fire, and carry over during administration changes, Republican or Democrat.

Political appointees are allowed to transition to career federal jobs, but under the law, they are supposed to go through the same merit-based selection process as other applicants.

“Selecting civil servants based on ideology instead of qualifications results in a less effective, more politicized bureaucracy,” Henry Kerner, assistant vice president of Cause of Action Institute, said in an email to The Daily Signal Tuesday. “Burrowing also provides the outgoing presidential administration the ability to reward its allies by stacking agencies with politically-aligned people who will be less inclined to help implement the new administration’s priorities.”

After an agency has hired a political appointment to a career position, the conversion has to face final approval by the Office of Personnel Management.

“Federal guidelines require agencies to seek approval from [the Office of Personnel Management] for such moves, but it’s unclear how often these rules are followed,” Kerner added.

Office of Personnel Management spokeswoman Laura Goulding said the number could be higher.

“It’s difficult to provide an accurate number of Obama administration employees who may be in the process of converting, since it changes by the day,” Goulding told The Daily Signal.

She added, “We don’t know how many political appointees apply for permanent federal positions; we just see the number of selectees. [The Office of Personnel Management] has checks and balances in place to ensure cases requiring pre-appointment review are submitted to OPM for approval.”

An Obama administration political employee, who converted earlier this year to a civil service job in the Department of Veterans Affairs, could be playing a role in the presidential transition.

This could at least violate the spirit of the policy on presidential transitions, which is supposed to minimize partisanship, according to the Cause of Action Institute, a conservative government watchdog group.

The organization is more broadly investigating how many political appointees are moving into career civil service positions, a practice known as “burrowing.” The watchdog has made a Freedom of Information Act request to both the Office of Personnel Management and the VA.

Obama appointed Gina Farrisee in September 2013 to serve in the political job of VA assistant human resources secretary. In May, she converted to the career civil service position of deputy chief of staff—a role she will continue in after Trump takes office.

Before serving in the VA, Farrisee was an Army veteran and was awarded several military decorations. She served as the commanding general of the U.S. human resources command at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

“According to information obtained by [Cause of Action] Institute, Gina Farrisee, the deputy chief of staff at VA, is apparently a key member of the VA White House transition team that is preparing the agency for the next administration,” wrote Lamar Echols, counsel for Cause of Action, in a FOIA request to the VA. “If true, this arrangement creates the appearance that the transition process will be managed by Obama administration political appointees because Ms. Farrisee was an Obama administration appointee until May 2016.”

That could be a problem because each federal agency is supposed to have two transition leaders, one from the political level and another from the career level.

“In this case, it appears a former political appointee will be playing the role of a nonpartisan career employee, an apparent conflict of interest,” Echols wrote.

Echols’ letter said this could also go against a May executive order by Obama, which said:

The peaceful transition of power has long been a hallmark of American democracy. It is the policy of the United States to undertake all reasonable efforts to ensure that presidential transitions are well-coordinated and effective, without regard to party affiliation.

The VA did not respond to phone and email inquiries from The Daily Signal as of post time to confirm whether Farrisee is part of the transition team.

Goulding, with the Office of Personnel Management, said, “We can’t confirm any specific members of transition teams; we don’t have that information.”

The Obama administration did not follow the rules to avoid political favoritism in hiring a quarter of all Obama administration political appointees into career civil service jobs, according to a Government Accountability Office report issued in September.

The report covered 30 federal agencies from Jan. 1, 2010, through Oct. 1, 2015. According to the report, agencies failed to get final Office of Personnel Management approval when hiring political appointees to career jobs.

“In those instances where the agency did not submit a request for pre-appointment review, [the Office of Personnel Management] informs the agencies in writing of the requirement to conduct a review of the selection post-appointment,” Goulding said, adding:

OPM also works with agencies to increase awareness and understanding of OPM policy in this area. In addition, we are required by law to report to Congress when those individuals who underwent a pre-appointment review were appointed to the career position.

(For more from the author of “Obama Political Appointees to Continue as Career Employees Under Trump” please click HERE)

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Obama Sent Someone to Castro’s Funeral, but Not Thatcher’s. Why It Sends the Wrong Message.

President Barack Obama sent high-level administration officials to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s funeral procession last week, a gesture of respect he did not offer for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.

After Castro’s death, Obama released a statement saying: “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and the world around him.”

The carefully guarded words made no reference to the legacy of tyranny and destruction Castro left for the Cuban people, nor did it explain how much Castro’s communist ideology played a role in the half-century of humanitarian catastrophes during his regime.

As reported in Conservative Review, “Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser and one of the president’s closest aides,” was sent to attend Castro’s funeral service along with the U.S. ambassador to Cuba, Jeffrey DeLaurentis.

Rhodes became notorious this spring when he boasted of selling a “narrative” about the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal to journalists to push the president’s agenda through Congress.

He was also a key player in opening up relations between the U.S. and Cuba in 2015, ending a long-standing American policy to isolate the communist nation.

The Obama administration failed to send high-level members to Thatcher’s funeral in 2013, which many British saw as a “snub” of their famous leader. Nor was that the first sharp elbow thrown at legendary British leaders by the Obama administration.

The words and actions of an administration, such as who a president chooses to send to a funeral, have a heightened influence on the global stage without the chief executive ever having to act officially.

As historian Richard Neustadt wrote, paraphrasing President Harry Truman, “presidential power is the power to persuade.” And as Neustadt noted, this power to persuade leads to the more tangible power to negotiate—perhaps the most important presidential role in foreign relations.

That the president seems so willing to symbolically and concretely abandon the “special relationship” the U.S. has had with Britain while going out of the way to tiptoe around the sore spots of the Cuban regime is a reversal of priorities for a nation that stood as a beacon for the free world.

Of course, Castro and Thatcher stood at opposite ends of the Cold War in the ultimate test of freedom against authoritarianism—Castro was a revolutionary communist who battled with the United States for decades and Thatcher was a legendary Cold Warrior who stood shoulder to shoulder with President Ronald Reagan against international communism in the 1980s.

When Thatcher was elected prime minister in 1979, she, along with Reagan, pursued a more confrontational approach to the Soviet Union, which she viewed as a primary global threat to human liberty.

She saw the difference between free countries like the United States and Great Britain and authoritarian regimes like under the Soviet Union and Cuba as fundamental.

Like Reagan, who called the Soviet Union an “evil empire” in a famous 1983 speech, Thatcher rhetorically undermined the tyrannical regimes and indicated that a mere détente with them was unacceptable.

When negotiating with the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War, Reagan and Thatcher came from a position of strength.

In a 1983 television appearance, the Iron Lady, as Thatcher came to be called, explained the radically different outcomes for people living under these nearly opposite systems of government:

[Nations] that have gone for equality, like communism, have neither freedom nor justice nor equality, they’ve the greatest inequalities of all, the privileges of the politicians are far greater compared with the ordinary folk than in any other country. The nations that have gone for freedom, justice, and independence of people have still freedom and justice, and they have far more equality between their people, far more respect for each individual than the other nations.

Castro’s Cuba has been the very picture of this despotism based on a false “equality,” as Thatcher described.

“Castro’s communism has not just left Cubans economically pauperized, but politically bereft, a situation that Obama’s unilateral concessions to Castro’s little brother, the 85-year-old Raul, Cuba’s present leader, has only made worse,” Heritage Foundation senior fellow Mike Gonzalez wrote for The Daily Signal.

Cuba’s pursuit of communism under Castro crippled the island nation and pushed hundreds of thousands to risk their lives to escape. Thatcher and Reagan’s rhetorical stands against autocracy helped break the power of communism as an international threat as they pushed the Soviet Union to collapse.

But the Obama administration now has sent high-ranking officials to the funeral service of the man who pleaded with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to wage nuclear war against the United States during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. The system the now-deceased Castro created still exists after his death and continues under his brother.

The simple act of administration officials attending or not attending a state leader’s funeral service communicates a great deal to the world about what a president’s intentions are.

Signaling that free countries like the United States will back off in their condemnation of oppressive, communist regimes like the one propped up by the Castro brothers helps breathe new life into their failed ideology. (For more from the author of “Obama Sent Someone to Castro’s Funeral, but Not Thatcher’s. Why It Sends the Wrong Message.” please click HERE)

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Obama Administration Not Finished yet With Executive Actions, Regulations

On Monday, President Barack Obama issued his fifth executive order since the Nov. 8 election. In this case, it was to create a National Invasive Species Council to compile a report by 2020 on how to prevent such species from affecting climate change, food safety, and even military readiness.

Citing national security concerns, Obama issued another order on Friday blocking Chinese firm Fujian Grand Chip from buying Aixtron, a German company operating in California that produces crystalline layers used as semiconductors in U.S. weapons systems.

Executive orders aren’t the only means for Obama to act without Congress before he leaves office on Jan. 20.

A new policy on highly skilled immigrants, restrictions on for-profit colleges, and energy efficiency standards are among the matters that the administration wants that don’t require congressional authorization that the Obama administration is moving aggressively in the post-election to complete before Obama exits on Jan. 20.

Executive actions and administrative regulations were planned and considered before the election and not a result of Republican Donald Trump’s victory, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at a White House press briefing, noting executive actions and regulations take “a lot of preparation.”

“I’m not going to rule out additional executive actions that the administration may take between now and January 20—after all, the president of the United States is the president of the United States until Jan. 20,” Earnest told The Daily Signal, adding:

But what I can rule out are any sort of hastily added executive actions that weren’t previously considered that would just be tacked on at the end. But are there some actions that have been in the pipeline for quite some time that could be announced between now and Jan. 20? That possibility certainly exists, but I don’t have anything to preview at this point.

Politico reported the list of Obama administration actions before leaving office includes:

A U.S. citizenship and immigration policy to make it easier for employers to sponsor highly skilled immigrants;

An Education Department policy to provide debt relief to students at for-profit colleges;

The Transportation Department is moving to ban cellphone calls on commercial flights;

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration could limit exposure to beryllium, a metal used in electronics and aerospace industries believed to pose lung cancer risks; and

The Department of Health and Human Services is seeking to change how doctors and hospitals get paid for administering drugs under Medicare Part B.

The fact that Trump could overturn much executive or administrative actions doesn’t appear to have caused pause, as the Federal Register has grown by 9,000 pages since Nov. 8, said Ryan Young, a fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Gina McCarthy, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, seemed eager for more action in a memo to staff sent to employees after the Nov. 8 election, which was obtained by the Washington Examiner.

“As I’ve mentioned to you before, we’re running—not walking—through the finish line of President Obama’s presidency,” McCarthy wrote. “Thank you for taking that run with me. I’m looking forward to all the progress that still lies ahead.”

Whether the regulations or executive actions are hasty shouldn’t really be the key question, said James Gattuso, a senior research fellow who studies regulatory issues for The Heritage Foundation.

“As far as I’m concerned, if it takes a long time to adopt rules or actions, or if they fly through the process, it doesn’t matter if it’s a bad rule,” Gattuso told The Daily Signal.

Regulations, he said, can be more tedious to overturn than executive orders or executive actions. However, the 1996 Congressional Review Act could be used to roll back many of those regulations, Gattuso said.

The law allows Congress, with the president’s signature, to scrap regulations it opposes, bypassing previous legal procedures in place, while forbidding bureaucrats from imposing rules that are substantially the same.

“No president is willing to sign a bill overturning their own regulation, but they are willing to overturn their predecessor’s regulations,” Gattuso said. “This is a once in a decade chance, really a once in several decades’’ opportunity, to roll back regulations.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and 21 House committee chairmen warned against a rush for regulations in a letter to agency heads, pledging to used the Congressional Review Act if need be. The Nov. 15 letter from House Republicans said:

As you are aware, such action often involves the exercise of substantial policymaking discretion and could have far-reaching impacts on the American people and the economy. Considering these potential consequences, we write to caution you against finalizing pending rules or regulations in the administration’s last days.

By refraining from acting with undue haste, you will ensure that agency staff may fully assess the costs and benefits of rules, making it less likely that unintended consequences will harm consumers and businesses.

Moreover, such forbearance is necessary to afford the recently elected administration and Congress the opportunity to review and give direction concerning pending rulemakings.

Should you ignore this counsel, please be aware that we will work with our colleagues to ensure that Congress scrutinizes your actions—and, if appropriate, overturns them—pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.

On Nov. 8, the Federal Register contained 78,300 pages, and as of Dec. 2, it had increased to 87,297 pages, Young said. Further, since Election Day, there were 144 new proposed regulations from federal agencies, and 243 regulations that were finalized.

“We could see a midnight rush the likes of which we haven’t seen before,” Young, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Signal. (For more from the author of “Obama Administration Not Finished yet With Executive Actions, Regulations” please click HERE)

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Obama Admin Reserves Hero’s Sendoff for Castro. Thatcher? Not So Much

President Obama will send a higher-level delegation to the funeral of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s funeral than he did when Margaret Thatcher was laid to rest.

Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security advisor and one of the president’s closest aides, will attend the Castro funeral, the Obama administration announced Tuesday. He will be joined by Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the U.S. ambassador to Cuba.

Castro, imposed his tyrannical rule on the people of Cuba for half a century. Known for his firing squads, labor camps, and suppression of basic human rights, he was also fiercely anti-American, allying with the Soviet Union in hopes that one day the United States would crumble.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Tuesday: “The president has decided not to send a presidential delegation to attend the memorial service.” However, with the sending of Rhodes, whether or not the president sent an “official” delegation becomes more or less an issue of semantics.

The United States restored official diplomatic relations with the Cuban regime in July 2015. Rhodes, who has been on Obama’s team since 2007, was an integral member of the administration’s push to normalize relations with Havana. The New York Times previously reported on Rhodes’ efforts to advance negotiations with Cuba, claiming he “spent more than a year sneaking off to secret negotiations in Canada and finally at the Vatican.”

Rhodes has utilized the enormous influence of his position to pursue the Obama foreign policy agenda, leaving a trail of deception in his path.

The White House deputy national security advisor has bragged that he purposely misled journalists regarding the U.S. negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Rhodes boasted about his success in creating an “echo chamber” to move public opinion toward accepting a nuclear deal with the Ayatollah’s regime.

When baroness Thatcher passed away in 2013, the president did not send a SINGLE high-profile member of his administration to the funeral. Two Reagan-era secretaries of state, James Baker and George Schultz, attended on behalf of the U.S., along with the ambassador to the United Kingdom.

As the first female prime minister of the U.K., Margaret Thatcher helped end the Cold War.

“All over Europe the peace marchers demonstrated to prevent Western missiles from being installed for their defense,” President Ronald Reagan wrote in a 1989 piece for National Review, “but they were silent about the Soviet missiles targeted against them! Again, in the face of these demonstrations, Margaret (Thatcher) never wavered.”

The Soviet press nicknamed her “the Iron Lady,” a tag she embraced in showcasing her resolve against tyranny.

Lady Thatcher, a voice for liberty and freedom worldwide, and a key ally in bringing about the end of the Soviet Union, was given the cold shoulder by President Obama. Fidel Castro, the ruthless tyrant, known for mass executions and the subjugation of basic human rights, gets Ben Rhodes, an irreplaceable part of the White House foreign policy team. (For more from the author of “Obama Admin Reserves Hero’s Sendoff for Castro. Thatcher? Not So Much” please click HERE)

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Obama’s Last Christmas Present to America? A Boatload of New Regulations

Barack Obama’s presidency may be waning, but that isn’t stopping the administration from issuing a volley of new regulations designed to implement the departing president’s agenda.

From commodities speculation to air pollution, Medicare drug payments to protecting funding for Planned Parenthood, agencies are hard at work issuing mandates, grasping at their last opportunity to lock in rules on Obama’s legacy issues.

These actions are nothing new. In fact, “midnight regulations” are almost a permanent feature of lame-duck presidents. Midnight regulations spiked under President Bill Clinton and were also used extensively by President George W. Bush.

However, President Obama has been far more direct about using the regulatory state to impose his agenda nearly by executive fiat — or without the approval of Congress. Under Obama, regulations have exploded. According to the Heritage Foundation, the Obama Administration issued 184 major rules during its first six years in office — at a cost of almost $80 billion a year.

Though only two months remain in Obama’s term, there are thousands of rules yet to finalize. Over 1500 proposed rules and regulations are in the pipeline, including over 700 dubbed “economically significant” — meaning those that cost the economy over $100 million per year. It’s these regulations that are likely candidates to be imposed in a last-minute flurry.

Is Congress powerless to stop this power grab by the executive branch?

Yes. And no.

By law, Congress has the authority to issue a “congressional review” of regulations it finds objectionable. Congress has 60 days to hold and up or down vote on regulations it chooses to review. This is tougher than it sounds — in fact, since its enactment, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) has only been successfully used once.

So, really, Congress provided itself with a tool to challenge executive regulations that is nearly impossible to utilize. I’m not too shocked.

However, this shouldn’t stop Republicans in the new Congress from seeking every opportunity to use the CRA. President Obama has issued more regulations — and at greater cost — than any sitting president to date. It is the constitutional role of Congress to check an overly-enthusiastic executive, and to do so requires Congress to muster the will to assert itself against this regulatory excess.

There is another way in which Congress can assert a permanent check on the power of the executive, and that is by passing the Regulations in Need of Scrutiny Act, or the REINS Act. This proposed bill would require every major regulation — those costing the economy $100 million or more per year — to receive an approval vote from Congress before it can go into effect.

Such a law, if enacted, would put accountability back where it belongs — in the hands of Congress, and the members that have been elected by the people. No longer would agency bureaucrats be able to write billion dollar regulations and impose them on the voters, who lack the recourse to stop them.

Consider the regulatory burden imposed by President Obama, without the approval of Congress:

Obama’s air pollution rule would be “the most expensive regulation ever imposed on the American public,” according to the National Association of Manufacturers, who calculated the rule would cost $3.4 trillion in economic output, and 2.9 million jobs by 2040.

The Obama administration’s rules on the financial industry reach over 19,000 pages so far.

EPA’s rule on emissions for automobiles costs $2.4 billion annually, according to one estimate.

The Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, a rule co-authored by every cabinet agency, could impose more than 12.1 million paperwork hours onto the medical research industry (in addition to costing $13.3 billion).

The regulatory state now comprises a literal “fourth branch” of government — one that is unchecked, and unaccountable. It is vital that Congress reasserts its Constitutional authority as a check on the executive branch. The new Congress must act aggressively to counter Obama’s surge of midnight regulations with the Congressional Review Act, and they must pass the REINS Act to subject major regulations to Congressional scrutiny.

More than that, however, this new Congress must be cautious about giving so much authority away to federal agencies. In many cases, harmful regulations are the result of Congress giving agencies vague directions and overly broad mandates. Too often legislation is passed that is half-written; allowing unelected bureaucrats to fill in the holes. If government is going to work as the Founders intended, then Congress must stop shirking the hard work of legislating, and write bills that contain clear direction — and limits — for agency power.

Unfortunately, midnight regulations are only part of a much larger regulatory problem. Unless Congress acts quickly, America will continue to be governed by unelected bureaucrats, accountable to no one but themselves. If this new Congress is serious about “draining the swamp,” their first step will be to rein in regulatory state. (For more from the author of “Obama’s Last Christmas Present to America? A Boatload of New Regulations” please click HERE)

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Report: Obama Ultimately Convinced Clinton to Concede on Election Night

A new report suggests that Hillary Clinton’s concession call to Donald Trump in the early morning hours of Nov. 9 to congratulate him on winning the presidential election may not have happened if it weren’t for the urging of President Obama.

Amie Parnes, who serves as chief White House correspondent for The Hill, and Jonathan Allen are writing a book about Clinton’s defeat in the election. Among the stories they have compiled is the tale of what happened as the stunning results seemed to all but guarantee a Trump victory.

Parnes and Allen say that according to sources within the Clinton campaign and the White House, just after the Associated Press called Pennsylvania on behalf of Trump at approximately 1:30 a.m. EST, the president called Clinton.

His message was simple.

“You need to concede,” he told Clinton.

Clinton ultimately agreed to call Trump, but according to Parnes and Allen, not without hearing plenty of objections from members of her own staff, who believed there was still a chance Michigan and Wisconsin could turn into victories for Clinton.

“There was a lot of discussion about Michigan and Wisconsin and whether the numbers could flip it,” The Hill quoted one of the sources as saying.

While campaign chairman John Podesta went on stage to address supporters who had gathered to for what was anticipated to be a Clinton victory party at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City — he ultimately told them to go home for the evening because there were still votes being counted in the Rust Belt states — Clinton finally listened to what the president had suggested and decided to call Trump.

The Michigan outcome was so close — approximately 13,000 votes — that the state conducted its own recall, only to determine this week that Trump won by slightly more than 10,000 votes. The win officially gives Trump 306 electoral votes.

With Green Party candidate Jill Stein and other liberals demanding recounts in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, there are some conservatives pointing out the irony that Trump was ridiculed for not coming out and saying during the third presidential debate that he would automatically accept the results of the election if he were to lose. And yet, more than two weeks after the election, some on the Democratic side are the ones not willing to accept the results because Clinton has lost.

Stein said Friday that her online efforts have raised more than $4.5 million to launch recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Officials with the Obama administration are not among those unwilling to accept the results. In fact, the White House has tried to dissuade the financial and logistical investments necessary to challenge the final vote totals because it does not want to be seen as doing anything to disrupt the smooth transition of power between the Obama and Trump administrations.

Clinton has also not lobbied for any official examination of the results, although Podesta has reportedly been contacted by a group of data experts who claim they’ve seen circumstantial evidence of “irregularities” in some of the vote totals, particularly in certain counties in Wisconsin. (For more from the author of “Report: Obama Ultimately Convinced Clinton to Concede on Election Night” please click HERE)

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11 Ways President Obama Absolutely Destroyed the Democratic Party

Analysts argue that Trump won because Hillary didn’t win like Obama did, or something like that. Obama argues that he was a better campaigner than Hillary was. But across the nation, it was clear that many former Democratic voters backed Trump in key areas.

Hillary Clinton has been controversial since college, and nominating her certainly did the Democrats no good. Looking back, you can see that she didn’t promote outlandish things while on the stump. She sounded like an old-time Democrat, a God-fearing white pantsuit-wearing smiler of smilers.

It’s just, well, America wasn’t fooled.

But it wasn’t just that Hillary was so bad that Republicans won. It was that Obama was so bad, America couldn’t see how they would improve with four more years of numbskull policies that didn’t benefit regular Americans to begin with.

While Barack Obama has less than two months left in his failed presidency, let’s review why so many traditional Democratic voters have abandoned the Democratic Party.

1. Cash for Clunkers

Cash for Clunkers was a grand plan that was supposed to increase the number of cars on the road with higher fuel efficiency. To the Obama administration, this program — one of the first down the pike — was offered as a fix for the poor. The theory was these consumers could use the money they got for their clunker to buy a better, more fuel efficient car. This worked for some in the middle class, who buy new or close to new vehicles every few years. For the working poor, however, it didn’t fix anything. In fact, the program cost three times its estimate, and the unseen consequences hit them the hardest.

See, when a clunker was turned in, it was made inoperable by dealers, (per instructions from on high) by filling the engine with liquid glass — literally destroying the engine. From there, the car was parted out for up to six months and then had to be destroyed completely. The government had to be notified when each car was dead. I mean, looking back on this massive waste now it seems so ridiculous that there was ever such a program that hurt lower middle class and low income earners the most. Think of all the used cars that were removed from the market.

If you needed a car with high miles and a little rust to get to your $9.00 an hour job seven miles away, finding a cheap one after this stupid program became a lot more difficult. Clunkers still on the market were few and far in between. Thanks to Cash for Clunkers, they were also more expensive and not better in any way.

2. Made getting to our jobs harder

Gas prices during the Obama administration were so high that all the fuel-efficient cars they tried to put on the roads didn’t matter much to people’s pocketbooks. Gas prices spiked in 2008 then dropped to almost nothing the month after Obama was elected, then steadily increased and stayed high for four full years spanning both Obama’s terms. Between 2011 and 2015, Americans filled up their trucks at about $80 a tank for gas. Gas prices between $3.50 to $4.10 hurt the working men and women trying to get to their jobs.

Of course, this increase in gas prices increased the cost of shipping of food to grocery stores, thereby raising the cost of groceries. When you have bills to pay and a budget for gas and groceries as most families do — and you need gas to get to your job — there isn’t much stretch to that budget. As a result, food quality suffers.

3. He told us we didn’t build that

Part of Obama’s campaign slogan in 2012 included telling mom and pop entrepreneurs across the countryside that they would be nothing if not for the government. It was as much a slap in the face as Hillary’s “deplorables” line was, but perhaps much more.

When a president who accomplished nothing in his life, and never had to keep his business going in tough times, produces the tough times that these entrepreneurs had to react to and overcome, a slow-burning intense passion begins to fester for outlasting such a vile enemy to producers. Small businesses are the back-bone of this economy, and Obama acted a punk to people whose hands were calloused and had to scrimp and save all they had, and use creative ways to stay open during a terrible economy.

4. Claimed wind and solar power was the wave of the future

Working Americans know that wind and solar power cannot replace coal and oil. There is no possible way that using the sun and wind could produce as much energy as burning something. It’s just logic, or basic science, if you will.

But the Obama administration did one foolish and wasteful thing after another to try to prove they were right anyway, and ended up wasting billions of your tax dollars on Solyndra and other fiascos like it.

The Ivanpah Solar Plant in Nevada, for example, is the largest solar farm in the world and is producing no where near the promised amount of power. The power it is producing is on the market at about $200 a megawatt hour compared to about $35 for natural gas. Oh, and the plant and those like it are killing birds and causing airplane pilots glare issues. Recently, a computer failure at the plant caused part of the farm to burn itself up, because the mirrors were directed the wrong way.

At a solar plant, birds who fly between the mirrors and the energy towers get burnt to death, which is horrible. All the plant seems to have done is create heat in the desert. Leave it to limousine liberals to spend your money to create heat in the desert.

Wind power is a joke, but what is irritating is that they notoriously kill birds. Stories of windmills killing eagles are numerous, and your government has protected wind farms from prosecution for killing bald eagles for 30 years. If I were to kill one eagle, I’d get prison time.

5. Poisoned an entire river in Colorado

The Animas River in Colorado was turned a disgusting shade of orange-yellow when the Obama administration’s do-gooders caused a massive flood of toxic waste including arsenic and lead to enter the river flow and poison local water systems. The administration then forgave itself without penalty. It doesn’t take a genius to understand what would have happened to a group of citizens who did the same thing.

6. Made building anything or increasing our comfort more expensive

Environmental regulations increased the cost of everything needed to build, repair, or make improvement on homes, and a flood of new lower-cost pipes and compounds caused problems for homeowners. If the Obama administration had not clung to a foolish agenda of controlling how we build things, much of the headaches involved with implementing an environmental agenda could have been avoided. It seems everything involved with helping the environment, as implemented by the government, hurt the working man and woman.

7. Did not make a stand for Christians

In the lifetime of most Americans, it is hard to recall such antagonistic reproach toward Christians as President Obama and his administration has projected. From denying Christian refugees to turning a blind eye to the mass genocide in the Middle East and Africa of Christians, to the insistence of the president to downplay the role Christianity has with the founding of America, Obama has seemed to be the most anti-Christian president we’ve ever had.

8. Shut down coal production

Union members are told to vote Democrat to save their way of life. But that circle couldn’t be squared after the Obama administration systematically shut down coal production. By September, 2016, Obama had been able to shut down 400 mines and 83,000 jobs in the industry — an impossible thing to ignore for most union workers. Coal’s big sin was that it was cheap and “dirty.” But regular Americans prefer cheap energy to non-existent energy, and prefer smaller electric bills to larger ones.

9. Tried to demoralize our military

The Obama administration began an effort to use our military as a social experiment, and consistently worked to undermine its effectiveness, with insane rules of engagement. Similarly, the administration reversed the military’s main role as a force to be reckoned with simply because President Obama, as a leftist, despises it. We remember his “corpse-men” comment, and taking full credit for the death of Osama Bin Laden. This nation is proud of our military and all it has done to fight for our freedoms. Obama doesn’t know the people all over the nation whose families have sent loved ones, and his ideology showed.

After Obama was reelected in 2012, the facts swirled about Benghazi. To this day that incident remains as one huge, unforgivable sin in the minds and hearts of many Americans. The lies and cover-up it took to get Obama reelected — as well as the ongoing whiff from politicians in Congress — makes the American patriot royally ticked off. Americans just want to know just what happened, and — relying on their own powers of observation — hold both Hillary and Obama culpable for the deaths of four Americans that night.

10. Kept on golfing

President Obama didn’t work much. That is the impression he gave to millions of hardworking families all across the nation. Nobody who wishes to keep their job takes in 300 rounds of golf in eight years. That’s ten months a year, every year, every weekend. If the president worked a 9-5 job and got weekends off, it would be one thing. But he was golfing during some of the most important international and domestic crises we’ve had. Flooding in Louisiana, the beheading of James Foley, the funeral of a decorated war hero, the funeral of the Polish president and much of his government officials, are just some of the times when Obama seemed cavalier. But mostly, we are and have been at war, and President Obama didn’t seem to really care to make appearances that he was in charge of doing anything about it.

11. Obamacare

Obamacare is a fantastic and predictable failure, and Hillary would have doubled down on it if she had become president. There is no question that many American’s healthcare choices have diminished, doctor availability has dried up, and costs have skyrocketed. Even unions called out in outrage about it. Employers were put in a vice, and now, premiums and “shared responsibility” fees are going through the roof.

Obama, and all political leftists waste mountains of money and show little empathy toward the working men and women who make this country tick. All of these examples and more turned working Americans away from the Democratic Party, and the party seems to be doubling down on its losing ideology. As a regular American, it is wonderful to see that the anti-American sentiment that the Democrats insist upon holds so little political power.

The power the media had and utilized to continue promoting the Obama agenda without questioning really, any of it, has been exposed for all to see. But with a little less than two months left in his term, President Obama can still do a lot more damage. Let us make sure the Democratic Party is held responsible. (For more from the author of “11 Ways President Obama Absolutely Destroyed the Democratic Party” please click HERE)

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How a Federal Judge’s Last-Minute Injunction Against the Overtime Rule Will Help Workers and Businesses

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, appointed by President Barack Obama, issued a nationwide injunction against the administration’s final overtime rule, which was scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1.

The temporary injunction came as the result of a consolidated legal challenge against the rule, brought by 21 states and more than 50 business groups.

The plaintiffs argued that the rule overstepped the Department of Labor’s statutory authority and that the automatic updating mechanism to the salary threshold violated the requirement that such actions undergo a formal rulemaking process.

In a 20-page ruling, Mazzant sided with the plaintiffs, stating that the Department of Labor overstepped its regulatory authority in issuing the rule, which would have doubled the salary threshold under which employees must be paid time-and-a-half for any hours over 40 that they work in a given week.

Mazzant wrote that “the department exceeds its delegated authority and ignores Congress’ intent,” which is to allow an exception to overtime pay for workers who perform executive, administrative, or professional duties.

By setting the threshold so high—at $47,476, or 40 percent of the median wage—Mazzant wrote that the final rule is “directly in conflict with Congress’ intent” because it “creates essentially a de facto salary-only test.”

Mazzant also stated that the final rule is “unlawful.”

In addressing the plaintiff’s argument that the automatic increase in the threshold violates the rulemaking procedure requirements, Mazzant wrote:

Because the final rule is unlawful, the court concludes the department also lacks the authority to implement the automatic updating mechanism. Thus, there is no need to address the state plaintiffs’ other arguments.

Mazzant’s statements suggest that a potential countermanding injunction or appeal will not succeed, meaning that anything resembling the final rule is unlikely to take effect.

That’s good news for President-elect Donald Trump because canceling a rule before it takes effect is far easier than attempting to roll it back after the fact—a process that could take years.

It’s also welcome news for businesses, workers, and families across the U.S.

According to a recent report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, over the first seven years, the overtime rule would cost businesses $6.9 billion in compliance costs, raise prices by $6.9 billion for consumers, and reduce family incomes (across all income groups) by $8.5 billion.

All these costs for only $2.7 billion in additional wages spread across less than 1 million workers (an average annual increase of $450 per affected worker).

And even those wage increases are questionable, as evidence suggests businesses would keep overall pay the same by reducing base salaries or shifting salaried workers into hourly ones.

Workers, families, and businesses should celebrate this temporary injunction, and hopefully permanent end to a rule that would create significant economic harm. (For more from the author of “How a Federal Judge’s Last-Minute Injunction Against the Overtime Rule Will Help Workers and Businesses” please click HERE)

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Like Obama’s First Term, Most Americans Want Trump to Address These Two Policy Areas

In many ways, incoming president Donald Trump and outgoing president Barack Obama couldn’t be more different. Trump is brash, while Obama is smooth. Trump’s worldview is more nationalist, while Obama’s is more globalist. Obama is a liberal ideologue, while Trump is a centrist pragmatist. Yet, in other ways, it’s actually kind of startling to see how similar the two men are, and by extension, how similar the country is to where we were eight years ago.

A new poll from Reuters/Ipsos finds that a plurality of voters want President-elect Trump to make health care his top priority when assuming office. In second place was a concern over jobs and the economy. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

In 2008, America had just been rocked by one of the worst financial crises in history. After two terms of George W. Bush, the voters were ready for something different, and due to economic insecurity, they rejected John McCain’s promise of a foreign policy presidency for Obama’s promise of “hope and change,” with an emphasis on health care reform and salvaging the economy from ruin.

It wasn’t at all surprising that change should win out in those troubled times over the decayed establishment. People felt vulnerable and needed new ideas to try to push the country back on the right track. What is surprising is that after eight years of “hope and change,” people still largely feel the same way.

Donald Trump’s election is undeniably a call for change, as many commentators have pointed out. What this shows is that the status quo — the things people thought they wanted in 2008 — have proven utterly unsatisfactory. Back then, there was a sense of great urgency to repair the nation’s broken health care system. And make no mistake, it was broken.

But Obamacare, Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, has been such an abject failure that the same sense of urgency remains undiminished today. Rising premiums, sky-high deductibles, and a malfunctioning market where insurers continue to drop out of the program are making Americans less medically secure than ever, despite the president and his cronies repeatedly assuring us that it’s working great. We know through direct experience that it isn’t.

Similarly, the economy remains in heavy focus. While it’s clear that we are not in the same desperate position we were in 2008, the recovery has been one of the slowest in history. And despite the official jobs numbers coming out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, once again direct, personal experience tells voters that work is hard to come by, and small businesses struggle under a regulatory burden that is undeniably worse than it was before Obama took office. While again, the White House assures us that they “saved or created” millions of jobs through stimulus packages, bailouts, and quantitative easing, the results of all these policies have not inspired confidence in the electorate.

It’s hard to draw any other conclusion than that Trump’s election is serving much the same purpose as Obama’s election did in 2008, although with one important difference. While voters certainly viewed Obama as a condemnation of the Bush administration, Bush had not come into office promising to do the very things that formed the basis for Obama’s campaign. Today, we see that health care and the economy, the two policy issues Obama most aggressively tackled, remain the chief source of voter anxiety.

In other words, Obama didn’t just fail to keep the country happy, he failed at his own stated goals in such a spectacular way, that somehow Donald Trump (I still can’t believe it) is now going to be president. Eight years from now, will we once again be desperate for change? For all our sakes, I hope not. (For more from the author of “Like Obama’s First Term, Most Americans Want Trump to Address These Two Policy Areas” please click HERE)

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Trump Should Let the Senate Kill Obama’s Climate Treaty

When is a treaty not a treaty? According to the Obama administration, whenever the president says so. This claim is especially dubious with respect to the Paris agreement on global warming, which as Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has shown, is more ambitious than predecessor agreements that were universally accepted to be treaties.

Surely if President Obama possesses an asserted authority to declare an agreement identical in form and more ambitious in substance than previous treaties to be a non-treaty then President Trump will have the authority to reach the opposite, more plausible conclusion.

There is little doubt that the Trump administration will reject the Paris agreement, but the option of properly recognizing it as a treaty and allowing the Senate to formally reject it has several advantages.

First, it prevents the dangerous precedent of a president binding the country and his successor to international commitments without the broad support that the Constitution requires through the advice and consent process. Secondly, it sidesteps the question of whether the withdrawal provision of the Paris treaty itself forces us to wait four years before withdrawal is effective. Finally, it exposes as false the talking point that skepticism of the Paris agreement is outside the political mainstream.

John Kerry, who infamously declared global warming a greater threat to the United States than terrorism, gave his final speech on the subject this week to the UN functionaries in Marrakech, Morocco. He offered a soothing fantasy.

“No one should doubt the overwhelming majority of the citizens of the United States who know climate change is happening and who are determined to keep our commitments that were made in Paris,” Kerry said to applause.

Last week’s election emphatically showed the opposite. The Midwest delivered the White House to Trump, who dominated among the working class voters who care far more about how much they are paying to fill up the gas tank and keep their lights on than they do about what United Nations computer models predict about the climate in decades or centuries — the results of which show minimal change anyway. Appalachian voters in particular preferred Trump in a stunning 469 of 490 counties.

The Paris treaty is a magnificent example of the bad deals made for America that ultimately paved Donald Trump’s path to the White House.

Specifically, the Paris treaty effectively bans coal-fired power plants in the United States while China has 368 coal plants under construction and over 800 in the planning stage. India’s coal production under the deal is projected to double by 2020. Even Europe is allowed to build coal plants. It forces Americans to endure painful cuts while the rest of the world continues with business as usual.

Even worse, American taxpayers will be forced to cough up $100 billion in climate-related foreign aid by 2020, with the promise of much more to follow.

Which brings us to the Senate.

Trump can submit the Paris treaty in full confidence that it will not pass with the required 67 votes in a body that has just 48 Democrats. The interesting question: how low can the vote total for this rotten deal go?

With ten Senate Democrats sitting in states Trump carried, many senators will be forced to choose between their green billionaire donors out in San Francisco and the voters they need to survive in 2018. And when the Senate votes the Paris treaty down, it will send an emphatic message to the world that — despite what John Kerry told his friends in Marrakech — the American people are with Trump on this, not Obama. (For more from the author of “Trump Should Let the Senate Kill Obama’s Climate Treaty” please click HERE)

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