Thursday, May 23, 2013

If President Obama was a CEO, DOJ would hold him accountable for scandals

IRS… Benghazi… AP… the scandals are mounting in D.C.  Who’s to blame?

Well, if you use the standards that federal prosecutors apply to corporations, the president would be held legally responsible for any wrongdoing by federal workers—whether he knew what they were doing or not.

Like Sergeant Shultz from “Hogan’s Heroes,” President Obama insists that he knew nothing about the IRS targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups.  He only learned about it from media coverage of the Treasury’s Inspector General Report.

Similarly, he knew nothing about the Justice Department’s subpoena of phone records of AP reporters and editors.

As for Benghazi, we now know that his subordinates in the White House and the State Department edited the talking points that misled the public about what happened on September 11, 2012 although we still don’t know who in the line of command nixed any attempt to rescue Ambassador Stevens and the other Americans under attack by terrorists.

Let’s suppose he’s telling the truth: The president had no idea of what his subordinates were up to in any of these instances. How, then, could he be held legally responsible for what happened?

If Mr. Obama were CEO of a corporation rather than commander-in-chief, the Justice Department would certainly hold him accountable. 

For years, DOJ has used a “responsible corporate officer doctrine” to prosecute business owners and corporate officers for crimes committed by their subordinates—even when the bosses had no knowledge of, much less involvement in, the criminal conduct.

To convict a business executive, all the Justice Department has to do is prove that (1) an employee did something illegal on the job and (b) the executive was above that employee in the corporate organizational chart.

The President’s own Food and Drug Administration revised its regulatory procedures manual in 2011 to make it clear that a corporate officer can be criminally liable “without proof that the corporate official acted with intent or even negligence, and even if such corporate official did not have any actual knowledge of, or participation in, the specific offense.” The key is whether the “official had the authority to correct or prevent the violation.”

President Obama may well have been clueless that Eric Holder’s Justice Department had secretly seized AP phone records, or that IRS officials were slow-walking tax-exemption applications from conservative organizations that (according to the IG Report) had “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names, “criticize how the country is being run,” or were “educating on the constitution and bill of rights.”

But the President is legally the head of the executive branch.  In the federal government’s organization chart, he is above everyone at State, Justice, and the IRS. He and his immediate subordinates, the cabinet secretaries, are responsible for the actions of all those in the departments they supervise and the policies those employees follow.  The enforcement and regulatory policies of the executive branch are, in fact, the special purview of the President, and he has “the authority to correct or prevent” the conduct that occurred.

So should the same rules apply to the government that apply to American businesses?  If the Justice Department believes that corporate officers and managers can be held responsible for their employees’ misdeeds–even when they knew nothing about them–shouldn’t a cabinet secretary or the President be held responsible for their employees’ misdeeds?

We won’t argue that the most senior federal officials in the executive branch should be held legally responsible for the actions of people not under their direct control.  But the same rule should apply to corporate officers being prosecuted by the federal government.  It is a sad day when the government holds itself to a much lower standard of responsibility than it applies to everyone else.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Israeli bombing in Syria may force Obama’s hand

Israel may be forcing the hand of President Barack Obama to become more heavily involved in the civil war in Syria.

Israeli jets have made three airstrikes on targets in Syria since January, going after Syrian weapons facilities, the Los Angeles Times reports. But it takes place as Syrian troops battle rebel forces from the Arab Spring two years ago in a bloody conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.

The Obama administration has said Syrian use to chemical weapons would represent a clear signal that the U.S. had to get involved in the conflict. The Israeli airstrikes may push Obama even more to keep the civil war from growing into an all-out Middle East firefight as other Arab countries take offense over the Israeli attacks in neighboring Syria.

Obama can’t afford for Syria to suddenly garner sympathy from the Israeli action. The development also raises concerns about whether Iran might be Israel’s next target because of Iran’s growing nuclear threat in the region.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Obama Lauds National Teacher Of The Year

President Obama today praised the nation’s top teachers as he honored the Teacher of the Year, a Washington state teacher recognized for transforming his hometown school and peaking students’ interest in math and science.

In a Rose Garden ceremony, President Obama thanked winner Jeff Charbonneau, a chemistry, physics and engineering teacher at Zillah High School, for his leadership.

“Twelve years ago, when Jeff decided to return to his hometown to teach, Zillah High School had no engineering curriculum. The science curriculum was lagging. Kids had to go off campus for technology classes, and the computer resources were, frankly, pretty poor,” Obama explained. “But Jeff was determined to turn that around. He wanted to convince kids that something like quantum mechanics wasn’t something to run away from, but something to dive into.”

Now, thanks to Charbonneau’s help, science enrollment is up and students are graduating with college-level science credits.

The president also praised the heroic teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School who fought to save their students’ lives during the December massacre in Newtown, Conn.

“We saw the true depths of a teacher’s commitment when six educators were killed trying to protect the children they embraced as their own,” he said. “In those moments, those brave teachers showed the world what they do is more than just educate kids. They embrace them and they nurture them and they love them.”

The president joked that teachers don’t go into the profession “for money” or the “light hours and the easy work.” They walk into the classroom every day “because they love doing what they do, because they’re passionate about helping our children realize the best versions of themselves so that our country can become the best version of itself.”

“I want you guys to know that the country appreciates you. The kids appreciate you. The parents appreciate you. What you do matters,” he said.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Obama pushes gun-control measures in Colo. speech

President Obama is looking to rally gun control backers in Washington by trumpeting the success of allies in states like Colorado and Connecticut.

Facing a tough congressional fight in the coming weeks, Obama praised a new set of gun laws in Colorado Wednesday and said they are in line with what he wants to do nationally.

"I've come to Denver today in particular because Colorado is proving a model of what's possible," Obama said during a visit to the Denver Police Academy.

The president, who has a similar trip to Connecticut planned next week, said Colorado is showing that it's possible to enact "tougher background checks that won't infringe on the rights of responsible gun owners, but will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people."

The president's trip came as Congress prepares to return from its Easter recess next week, with gun control on the Senate agenda.

In the wake of a series of mass shootings -- particularly the Dec. 14 attack that killed 20 school children in Connecticut -- Obama and aides are pushing legislation that includes improved background checks for gun buyers, a renewed assault weapons ban and restrictions on the capacities of ammunition clips. Obama is also proposing programs to improve school safety and mental health treatment.

"The president wants to sign the strongest gun bill he can," said White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer.

Congressional Republicans and some Democrats object to many of the proposals, citing Second Amendment rights to gun ownership.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said the Democratic-run legislature in Colorado "rammed" through a series of bills, but that won't happen in Washington, D.C., because Republicans control the majority in the U.S. House.

"In holding Colorado up as a model for passing tough new gun control laws, President Obama is pursuing a model that will fail in Washington," Lamborn said.

The Denver speech began a brief western swing for Obama, including a trip to San Francisco Wednesday night for a pair of fundraisers for Democratic congressional candidates.

Colorado has been the site of two major major mass shootings over the past 15 years, at Columbine High School in 1999 and at a movie theater in Aurora in July. Legislators recently approved a new background check system and voted to limit the size of ammunition clips to 15 bullets.

At one point, Obama told the supportive crowd in Denver, "I don't believe that weapons designed for theaters of war have a place in movie theaters."

The Senate debate on a gun bill could begin as early as next week. But if a deal is struck by a bipartisan group of senators on a new background check provision, the debate could be delayed so that new language could be inserted into the bill.

Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., are working on a version that could draw broader bipartisan support.

In his Denver remarks, Obama noted that the existing background check system has blocked many criminals from obtaining guns, but it contains loopholes that need to be tightened. The president said he respects the Second Amendment, that none of his proposals involve gun registration or confiscation, and that "well-organized, well-financed" critics are ginning up fears of what he wants to do.

The president also criticized possible plans to delay or obstruct a vote on some provisions, saying the victims of mass shootings deserve to have at least an up-or-down vote.

Next week, Obama is also likely to laud gun control legislative efforts in Connecticut when he speaks Monday at the University of Hartford. The school is some 50 miles from Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a package that includes background checks for all private and commercial gun sales. It would also ban the kinds of high-capacity ammunition clips used in the Sandy Hook shootings.

Lanae Erickson Hatalsky of the Third Way, which supports Obama on gun control, said the odds are against any kind of federal assault weapons ban or restrictions on ammunition clips, especially with Republicans in control of the U.S. House.

She is more hopeful about congressional legislation improving the background check system and cracking down on gun trafficking between states. Erickson Hatalsky, director of social policy and politics for Third Way, said Colorado can serve as an example for lawmakers in Washington because it is a state where gun ownership rights are highly regarded.

"No gun vote is an easy vote," she said.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Preity Zinta doles out health tips to fans

 Sleep well, early breakfast, exercise and much more came from actress Preity Zinta, who decided to utilise her Sunday by sharing some fitness tips with Twitteratis who are following her.

The 38-year-old discussed various health issues and also gave away tips on eating habits and working out.

"It's Sunday and of course, a fun day, so it's time for Sunday chat. Are you guys all ready? Should I suggest a topic today. Sometimes we have serious, hectic chats and sometimes it's all fun and frolic! Today, I think, we'll chat about health, beauty and fitness," Preity posted on twitter.

"Do you know that eating within 10 mins after waking up is guaranteed to make you lose weight? If you skip breakfast, then god help you, so don't do it... If you don't sleep well, you tend to overeat the next day and in turn increase your chances of putting on weight," Preity posted.

"Having lots of water first thing in the morning can cure up to 23 diseases in your body, especially if it's kept overnight in a copper vessel. If you drink water with ice in it while training, it gives more energy. Also, it burns more calories," she added.

The actress, who has worked in movies like "Dil Se", "Kya Kehna", "Mission Kashmir" and "Dil Chahta Hai", emphasised on working out regularly.

"If you are exercising, it's very important to take steam and massages. Massages help in breaking down lactic acid in the body, which helps with stiffness. It's a misconception that workout drains your energy. On the contrary, it rejuvenates. I feel more energetic afterwards," she wrote.

Preity also feels weight training helps in toning and and is a very important part of fitness.

"3 times cardio and 3 times weight training is almost perfect. Best way to run is at intervals with brisk walking and never on an incline. Weights should be done with 30 second intervals. You get better results," she added.

The actress, last seen in a full-fledged role in 2008 movie "Heroes", will soon be seen in her production venture " Ishkq In Paris".