Authorized military intervention in Libya without the approval of Congress
Defended intervention in Libya by redefining the word “hostilities”
A $60 billion sale of arms to the Saudi Arabian dictatorship, the largest arms deal in history
Sold arms to abusive Bahrain regime and used legal loophole to avoid telling Congress about it
Granted a waiver allowing four countries to continue receiving US military aid even though they use child soldiers
Argued that the widespread use of Predator drones is a justifiable form of self-defense
Ordered a cruise missile and cluster bomb attack in Yemen that killed women and children, suppressed the civilian casualties, and then imprisoned a journalist who revealed the truth
Would seek international permission for intervening in Syria before consulting Congress
Authorized the assassination of US citizens abroad, an unprecedented declaration of executive power
Announced the rules about assassinating American citizens, basically telling the other branches of government what its own limitations are
Invoked “government secrecy” against a lawsuit by AT&T customers “who claim federal agents illegally intercepted their phone calls”
Defended the use of warrantless wiretapping
Pushed to overhaul federal law making it easier to wiretap
Refused to declassify a secret memo regarding the president’s power for warrantless spying
Allowed weapons to pass into the hands of Mexican drug cartels which were later linked to deaths of American border patrol agents
Signed extension of the Patriot Act with snooping provisions intact
Broke promise to allow five days of public comment before signing bills, repeatedly
Broke promise to broadcast health care negotiations on C-SPAN
Broke promise to reduce earmarks to 1994 levels
Issued signing statement that he did not need to abide by provisions addressing aid for the IMF and World Bank
Claimed the government can never be sued for surveillance that violates federal law, a position more radical than the Bush Administration’s
Failed to disclose visits by industry executives while crafting health care reform legislation
Frequently met with lobbyists off campus to hide from the public and keep visits out of White House visitor logs
Repeatedly invoked “state secrets” privilege to get cases thrown out of court after criticizing Bush for doing the same
Appointed H&R Block CEO Mark Ernst to the IRS, where he wrote tax regulation to require licensed tax preparers. Congress never gave the IRS authority to do that, but this regulation benefits H&R Block, who had lobbied for it.
Did all of these things after promising that his administration would be “the most open and transparent in history.
Health Care Reform
Required American citizens, for the first time, to purchase a product from a private business through the “individual mandate.” It is a severe and unconstitutional overreach that sets a dangerous precedent of almost unlimited government, and conservatives and liberals alike should agree that this insurance company hybrid system is a far worse health care solution than either free-market or government-run “single payer” systems.
Argued the individual mandate penalty was not a tax increase to make the bill more attractive and then argued that the penalty was a tax increase to justify its constitutionality under the commerce clause.
Established unreasonable requirements on organizations and then granted over 1500 waivers from those requirements to those with the connections or resources to get approved with labor unions receiving the overwhelming majority.
Budget and Finances
Broke promise to cut deficit in half by the end of his first term. (All of Obama’s deficits are larger than all of Bush’s, and not just because of the inherited crisis – his projected deficits for the next four years are still much larger.)
Broke promise to repeal Bush tax cuts for high earners, signing bill to extend them.
Broke promise that families making less than $250,000 a year would not see “any form of tax increase.” . Broke promise to end no-bid contracts over $25,000.
Loaned $500 million at a low rate to an unsustainable green company that went bankrupt.
Reneged on accepting public financing limits for his presidential campaign.
Broke promise to expand the child and dependent care credit.
Broke promise to end income tax for seniors making less than $50,000 a year.
The Senate has not passed an annual budget for over 1000 days, including the second year Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress, and a 2011 budget proposal from the White House was so bad it was rejected by the Senate 97-0.
Broke promise to form an international group to help Iraq refugees.
Ethics and Transparency, Part II: Whistleblowers
Prosecuted whistleblower Bradley Manning for disclosing video, cables, and intelligence reports.
Obstructed investigation into Bradley Manning’s inhumane treatment.
Prosecuted whistleblower Thomas Drake, who helped reveal an ineffective $1.2 billion NSA contract that could have been done for $3 million.
He’s desperately trying to get Snowden in prison for leaking domestic espionage program which Obama denied existed several times before he admitted it existed.
Prosecuted whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling for “allegedly disclosing unauthorized national defense information”.
Prosecuted whistleblower John Kiriakou for “allegedly leaking to reporters the names of two agency operatives.”
Launched a criminal investigation against Paul Hardy for blowing the whistle on safety problems with a breast cancer detection device.
These prosecutions are more than all previous presidents combined.
These prosecutions are happening after Obama formerly praised whistleblowers, represented one as a young law and vowed to strengthen whistleblower protection laws.
Used executive order to establish “Intellectual Property Enforcement Advisory Committees.”
Seized and suspended websites without due process.
Gave permits to BP and other oil companies, exempting them from environmental protection laws.
Granted waivers to 10 states that failed to meet education standards if they accepted administration-approved policies.
Forced CEO of General Motors to step down
Sued four states over immigration laws. I can’t find solid proof one way or the other, but I’m fairly sure this is more states sued than by any previous administration.
Granted waivers to lobbyists to get around his own supposed restrictions on lobbyists (link)
- After attacking auto, financial, and health lobbyist Steve Ricchetti for his political connections, Obama appointed him as Biden’s top aide (link, link).
- Appointed former lobbyist Islam Siddiqui as America’s Chief Agriculture Negotiator (link)
- Appointed telecomlobbyist Eric Holder to attorney general(link). Holder was also a top fundraiser (link)
- Appointed education lobbyist Tom Vilsack to secretary of agriculture (link)
- Appointed defense lobbyist William Lynn to deputy defense secretary (link)
- Appointed anti-tobacco lobbyist William Corr to deputy health and human services secretary (link)
- Appointed energy lobbyist David Hayes to deputy interior secretary (link)
- AppointedGoldman Sachs lobbyistMark Patterson as chief of staff to treasury secretary Geithner (link)
- Appointed variety lobbyist Ron Klain as chief of staff to Joe Biden (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Mona Sutphen to deputy White House chief of staff (link)
- Appointed civil rights lobbyist Melody Barnes to domestic policy council director (link)
- Appointed Hispanic lobbyist Cecilia Munoz to director of intergovernmental affairs (link)
- Appointed union lobbyist Patrick Gaspard to political affairs director (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Michael Strautmanis to chief of staff to the president’s assistant for intergovernmental relations (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Erik Hirschhorn to the Commerce department (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Michael Punke to represent the US before the WTO (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Jacqueline Barrien to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Emmitt Beliveau to Deputy Assistant for Advance at the White House (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Cassandra Butts to Deputy Counsel at the White House (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Martha Coven as Special Assistant at the White House (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Phillip J. Crowley as assistant secretary for public affairs at the State Department (link)
- Appointed Fannie Mae lobbyist Thomas Donilon as Deputy National Security Adviser at the NSA (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Derek Douglas as Special Assistant for Urban Affairs at the White House (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Jocelyn Frye as Director of Policy and Projects at the Office of the First Lady (link)
- Appointed education lobbyist Gabriella Gomez to assistant secretary at the Department of Education (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Krysta Harden to assistant secretary at the Department of Agriculture (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Alan Hoffmann to Deputy Chief of Staff to the vice president (link)
- Appointed AT&T lobbyist Sean Kennedy as special assistant at the White House (link)
- Appointed MPAA lobbyist Jon Liebowitz as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Robert Litt to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Demetrios J. Marantis as deputy U.S. trade representative (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Dennis McDonough as deputy assistant to the president (link)
- Appointedlobbyist Leon Panetta as director of the CIA(link)
- Appointed Audubon Society lobbyist Robert Perciasepe to deputy commissioner of the EPA (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Daniel Poneman to deputy secretary at the Department of Energy (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Peter Rundlet to deputy assistant at the White House (link)
- Appointed lawyerlobbyist Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services(link)
- Appointed lobbyist Susan Sher to chief of staff at the Office of the First Lady (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Dana Singiser to Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Nancy Stoner to Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water at the EPA (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Thomas Strickland to assistant secretary at the Department of the Interior (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Karl R. Thompson as a lawyer at the Department of Justice (link)
- Appointed lobbyist John Trasvina to assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Dan Turton to Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs at the White House (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Christine Varney to Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust at the Justice Department (link)
- Appointed lobbyist Richard Verma to assistant secretary at the State Department (link)
- Appointed lobbyist William J. Wilkins to Chief Counsel at the IRS (link)
- Appointed Tom Daschle to health and human services. Daschle was not technically a lobbyist but received millions advising health insurers and hospitals (link), and was also severely delinquent on his taxes (link)
- Not only did he appoint all these lobbyists, but he did this after vowing to ban them(
Insisted that Americans should not be required to buy health insurance during campaign before championing health care bill that does just that
Slammed Bush for high gas prices in campaign and now is upset that the GOP is doing the same to him (link) (Note: I don’t think the President has that much power either way)
Honorable Mention: Telephoned a liberal activist when she was called a slut by a conservative commentator but didn’t do anything about a conservative commentator who was called a slut by a liberal commentator. He also accepted a $1 million Super PAC donation from Bill Maher, who has called conservative women worse things. (link, link)
Ethics and Transparency, Part IV: Top Fundraisers
- Appointed top fundraiser Cynthia Stroum as ambassador to Luxembourg, who wasted time and money hunting for a fancy residence and remodeling its bathrooms (link)
- Replaced Stroum with top fundraiser Robert Mandell (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Nicole Avant as ambassador to the Bahamas, who was largely absent from post (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Donald Gips as ambassador to South Africa, while his company received millions in government stimulus contracts (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Dan Beyer as ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Julius Genachowski to chairman of the FCC (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Steve Spinner to the Energy Department. Spinner also happened to push for the loans to the now-bankrupt Solyndra (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Matthew Barzun as ambassador to Sweden (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Jeff Bleich as ambassador to Australia (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Richard Danzig to the foreign policy board (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser William Eacho as ambassador to Austria (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Howard Gutman as ambassador to Belgium (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Scott Harris to the Department of Energy (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser William Kennard as ambassador to the European Union (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Spencer Overton as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Thomas Perrelli as Associate Attorney General (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Abigail Pollack to the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Charles Rivkin as ambassador to France and Monaco (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser John Roos as ambassador to Japan (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Francisco Sanchez under the Secretary of Commerce for International Trade (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Alan Solomont as ambassador to Spain and Andorra (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser A. Marisa Chun as deputy associate attorney general (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Gregory Craig to the White House counsel (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Norman Eisen to the special counsel to the president for ethicsandgovernment reform(link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Michael Froman as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Mark Gallogly to the Economic Recovery Advisory Board (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Max Holtzman as senior adviser to the Agriculture secretary (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser James Hudson as director of the European bank for Reconstruction and Development (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Jeh Johnson to the Department of Defense (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Samuel Kaplan as ambassador to Morocco (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Nicole Lamb-Hale to the Commerce Department (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Andres Lopez to the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Cindy Moelis as the director of the Commission on White House Fellows (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser William Orrick as counselor to the assistant attorney general (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser John Phillips as chairman of the Commission on White House Fellows (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Penny Pritzker to the Economic Recovery Advisory Board (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Bob Rivkin to the Transportation Department (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Desiree Rogers as the White House social secretary (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Louis Susman as ambassador to the United Kingdom (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Robert Sussman to the Environmental Protection Agency (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Christina Tchen as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Barry White as ambassador to Norway (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Preeta Bansal to the Office of Management and Budget (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Laurie Fulton as ambassador to Denmark (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Fred Hochberg as President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Valerie Jarrett as senior adviser to the president (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Kevin Jennings as assistant deputy secretary of Education (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Steven Rattner as Treasury Department adviser (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Miriam Sapiro as deputy U.S. trade representative (link). Sapiro was also a VeriSign lobbyist (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Vinai Thummalapally as ambassador to Belize (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser David Jacobson as ambassador to Canada (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Ronald Kirk as U.S. trade representative (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Rocco Landesman to the National Endowment of the Arts (link)
- Appointed top fundraiser Susan Rice as ambassador to the United Nations (link)
- Gave jobs to over 200 top fundraisers after vowing to banish “special interests”(link)
- Appointed as many top fundraisers to administrative posts in 2 years as Bush did in 8