Presidential Politics…The Chicago Way

When Barack Hussein Obama moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue from the smoke-filled rooms of Chicago, he brought The Windy City’s politics with him.

Judicialwatch.org relates a little tale of quid pro quo:

In its quest to promote taxpayer-funded entitlement programs, the Obama Administration has actually rewarded one state with a $5 million bonus for its efficiency in adding food-stamp recipients to already bulging rolls.

It’s part of the administration’s campaign to eradicate “food insecure households” by improving access and increasing participation in the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Incidentally, the program was recently changed to SNAP to eliminate the stigma that comes with a name like food stamps. Just a few months ago the federal agency that administers the program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), launched a multi-million-dollar initiative to recruit more food-stamp participants even though the number of recipients has skyrocketed in the last few years.

This week Oregon officials bragged that the USDA has given the state $5 million in “performance bonuses” for ensuring that people eligible for food benefits receive them and for its “swift processing of applications.” The money comes on the heels of a separate $1.5 million award from the feds for making “accurate payments of food stamp benefits to clients.” So welfare recipients are clients?

It marks the fifth consecutive year that Oregon has been “recognized” by the federal government for “exceptional administration” of the entitlement program, according to the announcement posted on the state’s Department of Human Services web site. The state official who runs SNAP assures that her staff will “continue working very hard to exceed expectations” so that Oregonians can “put healthy foods on their table quickly.”

So, this administration makes shady deals with state governments.  How about private business?

Can you say “Solyndra”?

The FBI is investigating Solyndra LLC for possible accounting fraud and the accuracy of financial representations made to the government, according to an agency official.

The FBI is examining possible misrepresentations in financial statements, according to the FBI official, who requested anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

Solyndra, which made cylindrical-shaped solar panels, filed for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 6 and fired about 1,100 workers with little notice, about two years after winning a $535 million U.S. loan guarantee from the Energy Department.The company’s offices in Fremont, California, were raided by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on Sept. 8. The Justice Department hasn’t said why Solyndra is being probed.

“The company is not aware of any wrongdoing by Solyndra officers, directors or employees” related to the Energy Department loan guarantees or other actions and “is cooperating fully” with the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco, according to a Sept. 20 statement from Solyndra.

But, hey, the corruption doesn’t stop there.

Federal authorities are pressuring Nashville-based Gibson Guitar to hand over an additional 25 bundles of Indian wood that the company allegedly planned to use in its famous guitars.

The complaint was filed today in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee and mirrors a 2010 action that sought official forfeiture of wood obtained in a 2009 raid of Gibson facilities. The latter of those cases has been stayed, pending the outcome of the most recent suit.

As has been the case in previous allegations, at issue is the classification of certain wood imported to the United States from India. Namely, a June shipment of 1,250 sawn logs was classified as “finished parts of musical instruments,” which is allowed under Indian law. In reality, according to the sworn affidavit of Fish and Wildlife Service agent Kevin Seiler, the wood was unfinished – a violation of the Lacey Act.

The Lacey Act, originally passed by Congress in 1900, was amended in 2008 as part of that year’s Farm Bill to include protection for certain wood and endangered animal species. At its core, the Lacey Act makes it illegal to import plants or wildlife into the U.S. if those goods are harvested in a way that violates the laws of another country.

In other words, because Indian workers didn’t create the final product, it’s not legally eligible to be exported.

The affidavit also outlines allegations that Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz understands the violations, as evidenced by the staunch defense of his company in a press conference and subsequent political fights around the Lacey Act.

Gosh, could all of this Federal scrutiny of Gibson Guitars be because of the fact that…

One of Gibson’s leading competitors is C.F. Martin & Company. The C.E.O., Chris Martin IV, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the DNC over the past couple of elections (though, to be fair, he did donate a whopping $750 to Republican Congressmen in the 90s.) [And] According to C.F. Martin’s catalog, several of their guitars contain “East Indian Rosewood.” In case you were wondering, that is the exact same wood in at least ten of Gibson’s guitars.

Nawww.  That couldn’t be the real reason for the Gibson raids, could it?

Why does this president and his administration seem to be so “ethically challenged”?

Cnsnews.com may have an explanation:

President Barack Obama told an audience of high school students in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday that he was “not always the very best student” and that ethics “would not have made it on the list” of his favorite subjects.

“I was not always the very best student that I could be when I was in high school, and certainly not when I was in middle school,” Obama said, speaking at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School.

“I did not love every class I took. I wasn’t always paying attention the way I should have,” Obama said. “I remember when I was in 8th grade I had to take a class called ethics. Now, ethics is about right and wrong, but if you’d ask me what my favorite subject was back in 8th grade, it was basketball. I don’t think ethics would have made it on the list.”

I’m shocked, I tell you.  Shocked.

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