Is the United States becoming a corrupt enterprise ?

The activities of the Obama administration have progressed into Mafia territory the past five years. I never thought things could change this fast but it seems I was wrong. The latest example ?

Soon after the US Government sold the last of its stake in General Motors, the company began to announce a huge number of recalls. These safety defects were known for years but unreported until the federal government sold its interests, at a huge loss of course.

Taxpayers, drivers, and investors who assumed the government would never fail to disclose rampant safety problems in a company it owned can rest easy, though. Instead of investigating fatally flawed GM components while the U.S. government was the company’s largest single owner, the NHTSA was busy harassing Toyota — one of GM’s top competitors — for an alleged malfunction that led to “unintended acceleration” in Toyota vehicles. Toyota was fined and eventually bullied into recalling 8 million vehicles over the issue.

Toyota is probably the safest, highest quality auto maker in the world. I drive one and have bought Toyotas for my daughter.

And what was the final result of the NHTSA investigation?

Many drivers may have confused the gas and brake pedals a problem that may account for “the vast majority” of the unintended acceleration incidents the agency investigated, NHTSA deputy administrator Ron Medford said at Tuesday’s NHTSA press briefing.

“What mostly happened was pedal misapplication where the driver stepped on the gas instead of the brake or in addition to the brake,” Medford said.

The Toyota cases were always about driver error, not safety of the auto. Only the trial lawyers and a complacent government permitted this raid on a company to proceed.

Is that the only case ?

Some are willing to cite incompetence, although that gets harder and harder.

The emerging narrative of Barack Obama, the one that actually comports to reality, is that he is a rare political talent but a disaster when it comes to actually governing. The list of his failures is nothing short of staggering, from shovel-ready jobs that weren’t so shovel ready to the failures of to the VA debacle. But it also includes the president’s failure to tame the debt, lower poverty, decrease income inequality, and increase job creation. He promised to close Guantanamo Bay and didn’t. His administration promised to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed before a civilian jury in New York but they were forced to retreat because of outrage in his own party. Early on in his administration Mr. Obama put his prestige on the line to secure the Olympics for Chicago in 2016 and he failed.

Overseas the range of Obama’s failures include the Russian “reset” and Syrian “red lines” to Iran’s Green Revolution, the Egyptian overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, and Libya post-Gaddafi. The first American ambassador since the 1970s was murdered after requests for greater security for the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi were denied.

Healthcare is one example that stretches the definition of incompetence. Even the NY Times has questions. The Times has been a shameless cheerleader for Obamacare. Now ?

Grand jury subpoenas, issued last week by the United States attorney’s office in Portland and released on Tuesday by Gov. John Kitzhaber of Oregon, have demanded all records, including email correspondence and memos related to the application or receipt of federal funds that might have been used in developing, building or administering the state’s website.

Oregon had received $305 million in federal grants to build its exchange, according to the Congressional Research Service, but the flaws were so profound that residents were never able to negotiate through it without human help.

Older scandals were equally curious. “Fast and Furious” has never been explained. One common theme of Obama is retaliation against whistle blowers.

the U.S. Justice Department inspector general said Monday that one of the department’s politically appointed officials retaliated against a whistleblower by leaking derogatory information to a Fox News (NWS) television producer.

During the two-year Fast and Furious operation, agents in Arizona with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed the sale of more than 2,000 guns to suspected criminals thought to be linked to Mexican drug gangs. The ATF planned to trace the guns over the border as part of an investigation of the violent cartels. In a stupendous demonstration of incompetence, however, the ATF agents failed to track the contraband firearms.

It seems pretty clear that the plan was to accuse legal gun stores in the US of being a source for Mexican drug cartels’ guns. This is ridiculous as Mexico has sources for automatic weapons that don’t require purchase from US stores. The above link goes to a story by a reporter sympathetic to the administration but even friends have to recognize corruption when it gets too obvious.

The Veterans Administration has added one more scandal. The VA has always been dysfunctional but the recent stories suggest a new level of corruption.

Ron Fournier, a senior political columnist for National Journal, also weighed in, saying this scandal is different than the rest.

“Here’s why Democrats are upset,” he said. “Like the health care fiasco of last year, this reminds the American public why they don’t trust the government. If you want to be the party of an effective government, you can’t be not taking care of the veterans after years and years of saying you would.”

The phony “waiting lists” suggest similarities to scandals in the British National Health Service.

Thousands of patients have been denied surgery or had it delayed by NHS waiting list fiddles, a damning report said yesterday.
Hospital managers have resorted to ‘deliberate manipulation’ to meet Government targets on queues for operations.
They have used cruel tricks such as offering operations when they knew a patient would be on holiday, then dropping them from the list for refusing the date.
The National Audit Office, the Parliamentary watchdog, found that some hospitals have been massaging figures for years. Records were routinely fiddled to hide patients waiting longer than the Government’s 18-month maximum.

The similar scandals are striking and show what government health care looks like no matter which country is the provider.

More than 1,000 patients were deleted from waiting lists, never put on them or ‘inappropriately suspended’. Patients were offered dates at short notice, asked to come in when they had arranged holidays or ‘ intentionally held back’ from lists.

Bureaucrats are the same, especially the English speaking variety.

This does not even mention the IRS scandal in which it harassed opponents of the Obama administration. The IRS may have provided the margin of victory in the 2012 election for Obama.

In a rash of documents provided under the Freedom of Information Act to Judicial Watch, a non-partisan public interest law group, is an April 2013 email written by David Fish, acting manager of IRS Exempt Organizations Technical Guidance and Quality Assurance and sent to, among others, former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner. It was part of a thread discussing a recent U.S. Senate hearing on the potential for the abuse of the 501(c)(4) tax status by organizations intervening inappropriately or improperly in candidate elections.

Responding to a message “What can I say?” from Lerner, Fish responds, “Tell Ruth she needs to get on the stick and that the next election cycle is around the corner. This is obviously a wonderful idea (that’s why we suggested it). I think you told Greg all you can tell him, unless you want to tell him that we’re taking guidance plan suggestions.”

The Democrats, of course, are outraged that anyone would question the motives of dedicated government employees.

Then, of course, we get to the Benghazi story.

a lot of things about the Benghazi disaster deeply trouble me.

One in particular stands out: The breaking of the bond between Americans sent to do dangerous things in dangerous places and the government that sent them. Lots of us have served in dangerous posts. Yes, of course, in the Foreign Service there is a band of officers whom I call the “Pierre Cardin crowd” because of their penchant for London, Paris, Rome, and Washington. Most of my friends in the Service, however, definitely belonged to the Cockroach-Terrorist-Iguana crowd. We wanted to go to the tough and rowdy posts. We went, however, with the knowledge that if the poop smacked the fan, our folks would come get us or at least make the effort. We had a very close bond with our military colleagues; we deeply respected their skill, capability, and courage. They, in turn, often thought we were nuts, but admired us for going to live in the places we did, and to work there with what struck them as minimal security. That bond was shattered in Benghazi by the National Command Authority; remember, even the hapless Jimmy Carter approved a far-fetched and dangerous rescue operation for the hostages in Teheran.

The link goes to the blog of a retired Foreign Service Officer and states, I think, the most important part of the sad story of Benghazi. The US broke faith with US officers who go to these places and represent us and expect that we will defend them if threatened. A somewhat similar event over 100 years ago illustrates what has happened to this nation.

In 1904, when an Islamic brigand named Raisuli kidnapped an American businessman named Perdicaris, President Roosevelt won his release by sending warships and this telegram: “The U.S. government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.”

Perdicaris wasn’t even a US diplomat. He was “just” a US citizen. How times have changed.

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