President Obama could be losing trust

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 12:38 AM EDT
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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The Obama Administration is in the middle now of what some people refer to as a perfect storm of scandal.

Tonight, in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says it's not something that can be written off lightly, because at its very heart is the question of whether the President is losing the public's trust.


I don't for a moment believe the internet rumors that the Obama administration is trying to buy up all the ammunition so gun owners can't find any for themselves.

But there are those who do...and that in itself has been an enormously effective sales tool for those who make and sell bullets. And guns for that matter.

Nor do I believe, for example,  former Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann—who claims that Obamacare is part of a plot to deny medical care to conservatives.

I do believe she's an ill-informed nutcase with a history of saying outrageous stuff. But there are people who believe she speaks the truth.

And, now,  by playing loose with facts and the Constitution on three fronts, the Obama administration is playing into the hands of his political detractors, of conspiracy freaks everywhere, and in the process putting public trust on the line.

Last September, the U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
It was blamed at the time on an inflammatory YouTube video that caused a spontaneous riot that resulted in the attack.  Now its becoming clear that back then, with less than two months to go until the Presidential election, the information was doctored to hide that it was, in fact, an organized attack by Al-Qaida.

Why make such an effort?

So the theory goes, Obama had all but vanquished Al-Qaida, and it would have looked bad politically to suggest Al-Qaida was still a viable terrorist outfit.

A week or so ago, we learned the IRS has been scrutinizing the not-for-profit status applications of groups thought to be opposed to the so-called Obama agenda.

If an organization had "tea party" or "patriot" in its title, it got worked over.

Now, one can easily make the argument that right-wing organizations are probably not going to spend more that half of their super-PAC money on civic enterprise.

Rather, one might suspect they are instead manipulating the tax code to hide the names of those who give them money and avoid paying taxes.

But to target them for scrutiny because of their political leanings is illegal. Simple as that.

A week after an IRS official admitted it happened, and even apologized for it, the President was grimly proclaiming that  "if" the charges were true, the perpetrators would be severely dealt with.

It made him look clueless. Maybe he was.

And now we learn that Obama's Department of Justice, ignored existing law by seizing phone records of a wide number of Associated Press reporters in its year-long search for someone in the administration who leaked accurate information about a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen in May of last year.

It was upsetting to the government because only days before, the administration was claiming the plot never existed.

Here's why what the D.O.J. did matters: reporters have relied on confidential sources to gather information for stories that the public has a right to know.

Sometimes the process has been abused, but mostly its not.

For a quick and easy example, think Watergate. If a well-meaning source believes a reporter can no longer guarantee his confidentiality, because of massive government raids on phone records—the source goes back into silence.

Attorney General Eric Holder—the President's appointed man who runs the Department of Justice—told the house judiciary committee yesterday that he knew almost nothing about it, and that what he did know he couldn't talk about because he had recused himself from the entire matter.

Why didn't he follow the law? He didn't know. When did he recuse himself? He wasn't sure. Did he put it in writing? He couldn't remember. And so it went. The Attorney General who often knows nothing.

These scandals aren't going to go away soon. Each one of them is a nicely wrapped gift from the president to his political enemies. And they'll run with 'em for as long as they can.

When he was elected going on five years ago, President Obama promised that his would be the most transparent administration in history. And much to the dismay of a lot of people who voted for him, it's not turning out that way.

He's had something of a free pass, so far. It's time to revoke it.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.
President Obama could be losing trust
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Business News

Last Update on April 17, 2014 17:08 GMT


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits last week rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000. Jobless claims continue to be near pre-recession levels despite the slight increase.

The Labor Department says that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell 4,750 to 312,000. That is the lowest four-week average since October 2007, just two months before the Great Recession started. The average has fallen by 53,500 applications over the past 12 months.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The current level of claims suggests that employers are holding on their workers with the expectation of stronger economic growth ahead.

Employers added 192,000 jobs in March and 197,000 in February, the Labor Department reported. Hiring has picked up after a slowdown caused by severe winter weather.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week for the second straight week as the spring home-buying season begins.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 4.27 percent from 4.34 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.33 percent from 3.38 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen about a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago.

Many analysts have been expecting an improving economy to lift the housing market, which has been recovering over the past two years. But housing has struggled to maintain momentum. Rising home prices and higher mortgage rates have held back some potential home buyers. Others have had trouble qualifying for mortgages.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Investment bank Goldman Sachs says its first-quarter earnings fell as fixed income trading slumped.

The bank earned $1.9 billion in the quarter, down 11 percent from the same period a year earlier when it made $2.2 billion.

The earnings were equivalent to $4.02 a share. Analysts polled by FactSet had predicted earnings of $3.49 a share.

Revenue totaled $9.3 billion, down 8 percent from a year earlier, when the bank generated revenue of $10.1 billion. The latest quarterly revenue beat analysts' expectations of $8.7 billion.

Goldman's stock rose $2.78, or 1.8 percent, to $160 in pre-market trading.


NEW YORK (AP) -- PepsiCo reports a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit as the company slashed costs and sold more snacks around the world.

The company, which makes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Mountain Dew and Tropicana, says global snack volume rose 2 percent while beverages were even from a year ago.

In its closely watched North American beverage unit, PepsiCo Inc. says volume was even. Growth in other drinks offset a 1 percent decline in sodas.

For the quarter, the company earned $1.22 billion, or 79 cents per share. Not including one-time items, it earned 83 cents per share, above the 75 cents per share Wall Street expected.

A year ago, it earned $1.08 billion, or 69 cents per share.

Revenue edged up to $12.62 billion, higher than the $12.39 billion analysts expected.


EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Toy maker Mattel says weak sales of Barbie and markdowns to clear out excess inventory left over from a sluggish holiday season led to an unexpected first-quarter loss.

Toy makers are facing a weak environment globally due to the uncertain economy and popularity of electronic gadgets.

The largest U.S. toy maker says its net loss for the three months ended March 31 totaled $11.2 million, or 3 cents per share. That compares with net income of $38.5 million, or 11 cents per share last year. Analysts expected earnings of 7 cents per share.

The company which makes Disney Princess dolls and Hot Wheels cars says revenue fell 5 percent to $946.2 million. Analysts expected $947.6 million. Barbie revenue dropped 14 percent.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Target is vastly expanding the goods that are available to order by subscription as it fends off its biggest non-traditional retail rival,

The nation's second-largest discounter first dabbled with subscriptions last September, trying to win over haggard parents with 150 baby care products.

That program has been expanded more than tenfold this week to nearly 1,600 items across a much wider array of consumer goods. Everything from beauty products and pet supplies, to home office supplies like printer ink, are now available through subscription.

Target, based in Minneapolis, is playing catch up in the subscription arena, which has exploded as companies test consumer appetites for almost every niche, from socks to razors, to clothing and entertainment.

Washington Times