The Conversation

Sequester: The Sequester was Obama's Idea.

Big Win for Republican Credibility: Sequester Not So Scary Says Washington Post

Jul 1, 2013 11:14 AM PT

The sequester was not so scary after all. That's the conclusion the Washington Post reached after surveying a list of scary claims the White House promoted just a few months ago.

Back in February the White House released an intentionally scary state-by-state breakdown of all the terrible things that would happen if the sequester policy (which they had proposed and agreed to) were to take effect. The Washington Post called it "a last-ditch effort to pressure congressional Republicans to compromise." But Republicans called the President's bluff and allowed the cuts to go through.

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Taxpayer Dollars: Transgender Voice Therapy, TSA Uniforms and IRS Employees Stealing

Apr 23, 2013 10:55 PM PT

I started to do a story about government spending $152,500 for Voice Therapy for Transgenders or the $50,000,000 for new TSA uniforms as lines grow at airports. Then, the IRS popped up on my newsflash and here we are.

Can you believe that after the GSA Vegas party fiasco IRS Workers Get Caught With Their Hands in Cookie Jar would be a headline?

Twenty-four current and former Internal Revenue Service employees have been charged with stealing government benefits, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The IRS employees were indicted on charges that they illegally received more than $250,000 in benefits, including unemployment insurance payments, food stamps, welfare, and housing vouchers, the U.S. attorney's office in Memphis said in a news release.

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Priorities: DHS Releases Illegal Immigrants, Cuts Border Patrol Hours - Orders Mass Quantities of Bagpipes and Drums UPDATE: Order Cxled

Apr 11, 2013 1:53 PM PT

Yesterday, the sequester-afflicted DHS ordered a large supply of musical equipment including bagpipes, drums and music writing software as well as the many small parts that go into the caring of bagpipes.

Via Townhall:

I guess Napolitano didn’t get the memo. We are supposed to be saving money here! How exactly are we “securing the homeland” with bagpipes and drums? The problem here is, that Democrats keep saying that the sequester cuts were too much and that we weren’t going to be able to continue life as we know it without this money.

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Blue Angels Air Shows Canceled for 2013

Apr 9, 2013 10:04 AM PT

The US Navy announced today that the Blue Angels performances are canceled for the remainder of 2013. 

"Recognizing budget realities, current Defense policy states that outreach events can only be supported with local assets at no cost to the government," read a statement released by the Naval Air Force on Tuesday morning. "This is one of many steps the Navy is taking to ensure resources are in place to support forces operating forward now and those training to relieve them."

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WH Blames Dismal Jobs Report On Sequester

Apr 5, 2013 8:51 AM PT

This morning, the Department of Labor reported that the economy added only 88,000 jobs last month, much lower than expected.   Unemployment has declined to 7.6 percent because people have left the workforce on a massive scale.

The White House didn't waste time in blaming the bad jobs numbers on the sequester. 

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'Outrageous' & 'Reprehensible': Cornyn Responds to DHS Border Cutbacks

Mar 27, 2013 12:32 PM PT

Last month, DHS Sec. Janet Napolitano, told Congress that due to the sequester,  the department would have to the cut hours of 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 2,750 Customs and Border Protection officers. To the horror of  many congressional Republicans, she is making good on that promise:

 U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued furlough notices to its employees this month. They could be out of work for up to 14 days from the end of April through September.

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The drunken-sailor school of fiscal responsibility

Mar 25, 2013 7:02 AM PT

In response to One Night in Paris*:

This sort of thing happens all the time - we see an expense total that looks outrageous enough on the surface, but then you start digging into the numbers and it seems impossible for even Uncle Sam to have wasted so much money, so quickly.  To say that nobody involved in these little spending sprees is doing even the most elementary comparison shopping or cost-cutting would be an understatement.

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Choo Choo Biden Also Spending Big Taxpayer Bucks To Fly Home on Weekends

Mar 24, 2013 3:02 PM PT

In response to One Night in Paris*:

If only "Uncle Choo Choo's" exorbitant Parisian hotel bill were the worst of it.... Has anyone yet mentioned that our esteemed VP has been flying home to Wilmington, Delaware most weekends at a huge cost to taxpayers? Even though he has an government-provided residence in Washington DC, so these trips aren't even necessary?

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The latest news from the blasted wasteland of austerity

Mar 23, 2013 12:24 PM PT

Even as Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) complains that the ravages of austerity threaten to starve her retinue of six-figure aides because they can't afford good meals at tony Washington cafes any more, we learn that the IRS blew $60,000 making a Star Trek parody video (in which a U.S.S. Enterprise staffed by IRS agents approaches a hostile planet called "Notax"). 

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden took his gigantic imperial retinue on a fun-filled trip through London (where he rented out 136 five-star $500-per-night luxury hotel rooms for a total bill exceeding $459,000.  Then it was on to Paris, where Sultan Joe blew a cool $585,000 putting up his vast entourage at the Intercontinental Paris le Grand for a single night.  All payable by you, dear taxpayer.

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Poll: Plurality Favor Sequester, Think President Used Scare Tactics

Mar 20, 2013 6:37 PM PT

The President's predictions of doom and gloom if the sequester cuts took place seems not to have convinced most Americans.  A Fox News poll released today found 49 percent of respondents labeled the cuts a "good thing" while just 37 percent felt the opposite.

The near-majority support for the cuts was strongest among Republicans at 59 percent, but even 39 percent of Democrats felt the cuts were good.

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Congressman Trey Gowdy Presses DHS on Release of Aggravated Felons to Cut Costs

Mar 19, 2013 12:30 PM PT

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is holding a full committee hearing today that started at 1:00 Eastern. It's being  livestreamed on CSPAN3. 

Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy, (R-SC) released the following statement ahead of the hearing: ICE contends it only detains the ‘worst of the worst;’ therefore it necessarily follows ICE just released thousands of the ‘worst of the worst’ onto our streets.  It strains credibility to understand why then the first cost-saving measure ICE pursued was to release detainees from custody.”

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Heads Up: Joint Hearing, Tuesday: "Sequestration Oversight"

Mar 18, 2013 8:27 PM PT

A joint subcommittee hearing, Sequestration Oversight: Understanding the Administration’s Decisions on Spending Cuts and Furloughs will be taking place, Tuesday, March 19 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern.

The hearing will be streaming live at Oversight.house.gov  and will "examine how agencies plan to implement the sequester in the coming months and over the long-term."

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Despite Sequester, Federal Government Is Hiring!

Mar 13, 2013 11:08 AM PT

In response to Sequester panic and REAL budget cuts:

 Spending cuts now, tax increases never.  And by "now" I mean right now.  I want Harry Reid tearing up the subsidy checks before a band of snarling cowboy poets.  I want Barack Obama announcing that his future family vacations will involve four years of "frequent skeet shooting" at Camp David, while the $100k dog-walkers and backup movie theater projectionists clean out their desks.  I want that seven-foot stack of ObamaCare regulations burned tomorrow, and a new wasteful government program burned every day after that, to give us an Eternal Flame of Liberty on the Washington mall.  I sneer at goofball tyrant mayors trying to ban Big Gulps, but I don't want an $80 billion food stamp program giving people money to buy soda, beer, and well drinks down at the local strip club.  And I want the Blue Angels back.  Who's with me?

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Sequester panic and REAL budget cuts

Mar 13, 2013 6:54 AM PT

In response to Stupid Plane Stunts:

While you're watching them melt the Blue Angels down into raw material for robot squirrels, paper clips to hold ObamaCare regulations, and luggage tags for the Royal Family's next multi-million-dollar vacation, enjoy a laugh at the spectacle of a Democrat budget that demands a trillion dollars in new taxes immediately, in return for the promise of a trillion dollars in spending cuts in the "out years," i.e. some bright future day in the federally-subsidized land of Oz, i.e. never.

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Stupid Plane Stunts

Mar 13, 2013 6:20 AM PT

The latest idiocy from Sequester Hostage Theater: the federal budget is so pared to the bone that the Navy Blue Angels will be forced to withdraw from the Chicago Air and Water Show and other appearances around the country.

Here's the deal: few things fill me with more joy and patriotic pride than viewing the Blue Angels flying in formation from atop the Hawkperch. But if they're now just another twist in the Sequesterados' ransom plot, I say call their bluff.

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Shared Sacrifice: Michelle Obama Should Cancel Her White House Birthday Bash

Mar 11, 2013 12:18 PM PT

In response to Michelle's B-Day Bash = 3 years of White House Tours

Not so fast, Joel. The sine qua non of Obamaism is housed in a cute little phrase that is heavy on the catchy and even heavier on the Keynesian: shared sacrifice. It's really odd that the Marxist drivel preached by President Obama time and time again is often eschewed by the First Lady, who never actually adheres to her husband's call for fairness. 

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Michelle's B-Day Bash = 3 years of White House Tours

Mar 11, 2013 11:20 AM PT

Following the example of the inestimable Charles Krauthammer, who calculated that President Barack Obama's $1 million golf trip with Tiger Woods would pay for a full year of White House tours (at $18,000 per week), I decided to calculate the cost of First Lady Michelle Obama's upcoming Beyoncé/Adele bash in White House Tour units (WHOTs).

Again, 1 WHOT = $18,000 (barring inflation, which may arrive any day now).

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Video: Congressman Harris Eviscerates CDC Director Over Misleading White House Sequester Claims

Mar 9, 2013 10:35 AM PT

 The Obama Regime has been claiming that due to the sequestration cuts this year, tens of thousands of American children will not be vaccinated.

The White House website even has an interactive map that shows the number of children it claims will not be receiving vaccines thanks to evil Republican "hostage takers". But it turns out that Obama had already planned even larger cuts in his 2013 budget.

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Where Exactly is the White House Making Sequester Cuts?

Mar 8, 2013 6:36 AM PT

Earlier this week, the White House announced that they will halt all public tours of the White House on account of the mandated sequester cuts that kicked in on March 1.  The WH tour cuts will save $74K a week which is around $2M for the fiscal year which ends on September 30.

However, "according to the Secret Service, officers normally assigned to the public tours are being reassigned to other posts." If these agents are merely being reassigned, they are still working and getting paid. So, where are the cuts?

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USDA Email Confirms What We Were All Thinking

Mar 5, 2013 1:23 PM PT

In response to USDA Email: Don't Contradict Us on Sequester's Impact:

 The first time I heard Brit Hume say that he was hearing that Obama administration officials were going to make sure the sequestration cuts were as painful as possible, I thought it was a very controversial thing to say. Would the Obama administration really punish the American people just to save face and blame Republicans? My God. But Hume doubled down on it, last night on O'Reilly, saying: “The President Seems Prepared To Let The Public Suffer Almost As Much As Possible As Long As He Can Blame Somebody Else”.

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USDA Email: Don't Contradict Us on Sequester's Impact

Mar 5, 2013 1:03 PM PT

The USDA contains a department called the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service whose role is to protect the nation's agriculture from pests and disease. Like everyone else, their budget is being cut by the sequester.

Yesterday a regional manager named Charles Brown asked his superiors during a conference call how much flexibility he had in deciding how cuts are spread across the region. According to an email which made its way to Rep. Tim Griffin, the response was as follows:

We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that "APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 States in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs." So, it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.

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Gohmert: No Federal Funds to Transport Obama to/from Golf Courses Until WH Tours Resume

Mar 5, 2013 12:49 PM PT

Congressman Gohmert (R-TX) introduced an amendment to the Continuing Resolution preventing Obama from using federal funds to transport himself to/from a golf course until White House resumes giving tours to the public. 

Today, the White House Vistor's Office sent out an email to interested parties that announces the suspension of all White House Tours due to the sequester cuts. 

ATTN Interested Parties,

Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that White House Tours will be canceled effective Saturday, March 9, 2013 until further notice.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule affected tours. 

We very much regret having to take this action, particularly during the popular Spring touring season.   For updates regarding this situation, please contact the White House Visitors Office 24 Hour Hotline at (202) XXX-XXXX.

Sincerely,

White House Visitors Office

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Bill Keller Blames Obama for the Sequester

Mar 4, 2013 11:17 AM PT

Bill Keller of the NY Times wrote an op-ed over the weekend which, while still taking some shots at the GOP, managed to lay some of the blame for "the large mess we are in" at the President's feet.

The piece is titled "Obama's Fault" and that more or less sums up the theme. Keller's opening paragraph sounds like something Charles Krauthammer might have written, "The White House spent last week in full campaign hysteria, blitzing online followers with the message that heartless Republicans are prepared to transform America into 'Les Misérables' in order to protect 'millionaires and billionaires, oil companies, vacation homes, and private jet owners.'”

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Romney: "It kills me not to be there, doing what needs to be done."

Mar 3, 2013 9:03 PM PT

Mitt Romney gave Fox News Sunday what they describe as an "unflinching review of his unsuccessful campaign," in which he criticized President Obama's mishandling of sequestration, and expressed a heartfelt desire to be the one handling those tough decisions right now:

It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done... The President is out campaigning to the American people, doing rallies around the country, flying around the country and berating Republicans and blaming and pointing.  That causes the Republicans to retrench and to put up a wall and to fight back.

Decisions like sequestration (and the vastly larger spending cuts and entitlement reforms that must lie beyond it, if the American system of government is to survive) are the sort of thing Romney specialized in.  America had a chance to hire one of the best turnaround managers in the business world.  Instead, they listened to a bottom-feeding campaign that accused a good man of tax evasion and murder, while swallowing an astonishing pile of lies from Obama about his alleged fiscal responsibility.  It's almost delirious to revisit the garbage Obama was selling in his campaign appearances and presidential debates now.  Remember $3 of spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases?

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Sequestration Impacting US Coast Guard

Mar 2, 2013 5:24 PM PT

The sequestration cuts are already taking a toll on Florida’s aviation industry as two of South Florida’s smallest airports- North Perry in Broward and Opa-Locka in Miami-Dade will go “dark” in April.  The FAA has slated for the closing of 189 federal air traffic control towers on April 1. According to Federal officials, this would leave “private pilots to navigate themselves to the runways without help from air-traffic controllers,” also saying that they don’t feel that “safety would be compromised.”

 

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Ballad of the DC Sequester Dustbowl

Mar 2, 2013 12:08 PM PT

They used to tell me I was building a dream
I joined the President's mob
There were rules to make and budgets to spend
At my EPA, it was my job

They used to tell me I was building a dream
With hope and change straight ahead
But now that Sequester has cut 2 percent
The dream is now dead

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State-run media rides to the rescue on sequestration

Mar 2, 2013 7:34 AM PT

Far from challenging Obama for his obvious lies on sequestration, some quarters of the media (and I'm being charitable by saying "some") are happily carrying his water and running "news items" that could have been written by David Axelrod.  Oh, wait, that is his official job at MSNBC now.  

The Associated Press gets the award for ripping a headline straight out of a White House strategy memo, with the following Tweet: "BREAKING: Obama signs order to begin $85 billion in spending cuts that he opposed but couldn't avert."

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Obama caught lying about the sequester again

Mar 2, 2013 7:22 AM PT

And it comes from a two-Pinoochio fact check at the Washington Post.  Wait, did I say two Pinocchios?  Glenn Kessler updated it to four Pinocchios - the full-on total-B.S. rating - after the Architect for the Capitol sent him some documentation and bluntly stated the President's comments were "not true."

The comment in question was his warning about the dire cuts to Capitol janitorial services:

Starting tomorrow everybody here, all the folks who are cleaning the floors at the Capitol. Now that Congress has left, somebody’s going to be vacuuming and cleaning those floors and throwing out the garbage. They’re going to have less pay. The janitors, the security guards, they just got a pay cut, and they’ve got to figure out how to manage that. That’s real.

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Deficits: world-shaking menace or irrelevant distraction?

Mar 1, 2013 12:19 PM PT

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg became the latest big spender to dismiss concerns about the deficit, in the course of decrying sequestration as an unfair waterboarding of our beloved, endlessly benevolent government.  "When it comes to the United States federal government, people do seem willing to lend us an infinite amount of money," he mused, which means it's crazy to compare Uncle Sam's spendthrift ways with the manner in which a household or business manages its finances.  

"It's the old story: If you owe the bank $50,000, you got a problem.  If you owe the bank $50 million, they got a problem," the Mayor nattered on.  But what if you owe a bunch of banks - some of which hate you and use your interest payments to finance aggressive military buildups - $400 billion a year, and then borrow another $800 billion from yourself, and print up a fresh pile of dollar bills every night in the basement?  We can only hope to God that the world's credit agencies and investors didn't pay attention to this idiot.

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