01/6/12

Obama EPA Headed for a ‘Smack Down’ by Independent CA Truckers

By: Jeffrey Klein, Political Buzz Examiner
Examiner.com

It seems like a day can’t go by without the Obama administration circumventing Congress and the rule of law–once again using their favorite “tool,”–the Environmental Protection Agency.

Congressional Democrats were unable to affect any legislation that would allow them to regulate the exhaust emissions and fuel efficiency of recreational vehicles and commercial trucks, like it has done since 1978 using CAFE standards on the automobile and light truck market segment.

So now, President Obama has the EPA attempting to use their heavy hand of regulation instead, according to Claudia Cowan’s FOXNews article today.

The new regulations require large trucks and buses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20 percent, and overhaul engine design, starting with models built in 2014.

As a result, most operators will need to spend thousands [of dollars] upgrading their rigs, or buying new vehicles, whose prices start at $50,000 and go up quickly from there, depending on the model.

In a historic about-face, the large and powerful American Trucking Association is supporting these regulations. “We have never been inclined to be supportive of federal involvement and regulations in our industry,” said Bill Graves, president and CEO of the ATA. “But our experience in this case is one where we have to admit that the federal government did a really fine job of working collaboratively with all partners in this, to come up with what we think is a reasonable and fair rule.”

However, there is a group of independent California truckers, many of whom are also members of the ATA, who see the prohibitive costs for meeting these requirements, particularly as the economy is slow and fuel prices high, as a means to ultimately push them out of business–in favor of cutting their price competition with the large and [many unionized] trucking companies across the nation.

Therefore, they have filed a federal lawsuit to block the EPA from implementing these regulations.

One of the plaintiffs in the suit is Robert McClernon, a small owner-operator from Sacramento, who Ms. Cowan quoted as saying … “With the cost of the new equipment that they’re requiring, and the oversight of the government in every part of my business, I can’t afford to be in business.”

Their lawsuit claims that the EPA failed to make the legally required submission of their [proposed] regulations to the Science Advisory Board, which is a group of top scientists who’ve been empowered by federal law to review [all] new regulations proposed by the EPA, under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA argues [that] it posted all ‘relevant information’ on its website, providing access for scientific and peer review.

But, McClernon’s lawyer, Ted Hadzi-Antich with the Pacific Legal Foundation, is not buying the EPA argument, and said, “The government has to comply with the law just like the rest of us do, and when the government’s rule making creates these kinds of economic dislocations for small business, we’re going to make sure we hold EPA’s feet to the fire.”

However, truckers like McClernon contend that the new greenhouse gas rules are less about clean air, and more about the big trucking fleets pushing smaller operators out of the way.

“This is using the government as a bully pulpit to put me out of business, so [the big trucking fleets] can take over and get more market share,” says McClernon.

The ATA’s Bill Graves denies that’s the case, and argues the new regulations will lead to a major goal for the transportation industry–lower fuel costs, saying “The rule is about being more fuel efficient. Over the long haul, this has got to be positive for anybody in the trucking industry.”

This is probably just the tip of the iceberg for situations that have been architected by the Obama Administration, in cooperation with union bosses nationwide, in search of ways to increase union membership–especially if the Democrats are unable to legislate it.

President Barack H. Obama’s behavior and actions as of late, prove that he has a reckless disregard for the United States Constitution, Congress and all American people–whether some know it or not–and will likely stop at nothing to retain his “throne” in the White House.

As Bill O’Reilly would say, these independent truckers and their lawyers are true patriots–for bringing a “Smack Down” to the EPA.

Copyright (c) 2012 by Jeffrey Klein

01/6/12

More Indoctrination of Schoolchildren

Lyrics to ‘Inauguration’:

It feels like it’s been winter for a hundred years

The world is as cold as the white snow

The birds have been wondering if it’s safe to return

We’ve all been hibernating way too long

But now we’ve got the power – we’re no longer cowards

We’ll have a brand new song

Now we’re ready to shed our old skin

We’re ready for a brand new day

Ready for peace – ready for spring

Ready for freedom – let freedom ring

Welcome Barack Obama

He’ll save the day – hip hip hooray

If President Obama came to our school

I’d show him all the work I’ve done

To make peace for all the children in the world

Growing happiness for everyone

But now we’ve got the power – we’re no longer cowards

It’s time to have some fun

Now we’re ready to shed our old skin

We’re ready for a brand new day

Ready for peace – ready for spring

Ready for freedom – let freedom ring

Welcome Barack Obama

He’ll save the day – hip hip hooray

Welcome Barack Obama

He’ll save the day – hip hip hooray

Barack Obama – hip hip hooray

Barack Obama – hip hip hooray

Barack Obama – hip hip hooray

Barack Obama!

Read more at Ironic Surrealism…

01/6/12

Politico Falsely Accuses Koch Brothers, Ignores Soros

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Philip Ellender, a representative of the libertarian Koch brothers, has issued a statement saying that, “Contrary to unfounded speculation by Politico and others, neither Charles Koch nor David Koch, nor any Koch company has provided funding to or has any involvement with the Center for American Freedom.”

The categorical statement seems to put to rest the innuendo from Politico, which has set the left-wing blogs on fire, that the billionaire Koch brothers are behind a new conservative start-up organization designed as a response to the liberal/left Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP).

The new conservative group is supposed to be launching an on-line publication called the Washington Free Beacon.

Politico’s Ben Smith insinuates that Orion Strategies, a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm run by Randy Scheunemann, a former foreign policy adviser to Senator John McCain, was somehow involved in the creation of the Center for American Freedom. He writes that the chairman of the new group, Michael Goldfarb, was a vice president of Orion, “where his clients include Charles and David Koch.” Goldfarb had been Deputy Communications Director of the McCain 2008 presidential campaign.

But here’s where it gets interesting, at least for conservatives. It turns out that Scheunemann, not mentioned in the Politico article, has himself represented the Open Society Policy Center, founded and funded by George Soros, on Capitol Hill. Scheunemann has personally registered as a lobbyist for the Soros group.

In fact, the lobbying disclosure documents on file with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives and reviewed this week by Accuracy in Media show that, as late as last year, Scheunemann was still a registered lobbyist for Soros interests on Capitol Hill.

The Open Society Policy Center is one of dozens of Soros-funded progressive groups and was once run by the controversial Morton Halperin, a former official in various Democratic Administrations whose appointment to a senior post in the Defense Department in the Clinton Administration was opposed by Scheunemann’s old boss, Senator McCain.

The Arizona Senator had said, “Dr. Halperin has consistently affiliated with individuals whose views are inimical to the security interests of this nation. Dr. Halperin was closely involved with [CIA defector] Philip Agee, whose extensive publication of the identities of American covert intelligence agents in foreign countries is attributed by some as the indirect cause of the assassination of Richard Welch in Athens. Dr. Halperin flew 4,000 miles to London for Agee’s deportation hearings from Great Britain after certain British intelligence agents who had been ‘outed’ by Agee were murdered in Russia.” Halperin was a character witness for Agee.

Under fire, Halperin withdrew his nomination and later went to work for Soros, who didn’t mind his association with identified enemies of the United States. He currently sits on the board of the Open Society Policy Center and serves as the group’s senior adviser.

Justin Elliott of Salon.com wrote about the Scheunemann-Soros connection on November 12, 2010, “Top Palin aide is on Soros’ payroll,” noting that Scheunemann was also advising Sarah Palin, who had been McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Scheunemann’s mission on Capitol Hill was assisting Soros in his campaign of economic sanctions and other measures designed to destabilize the government of Burma. Also known as Myanmar, Burma is now ruled by a “reformist” military-backed government and the country is rich in natural resources as well as poppy fields that produce heroin.

From the Soros viewpoint, the situation has now turned around, as the country was recently visited by the billionaire personally. “As a result of his visit Soros agreed to establish an official presence in Burma to help the country in making the transition from a closed to a more open society,” declared the Open Society Foundations.

Hence, the story is not Koch, but Soros. The involvement of Orion Strategies, which represented Soros, is something that should concern conservatives. How can a conservative group with a Soros connection be expected to subject Soros and his groups to necessary scrutiny?

An “open society” in Soros terminology is one, at least in the U.S., which includes acceptance of abortion rights, gay rights, drug legalization, voting rights for felons, euthanasia, environmentalism, and rights for illegal immigrants and prostitutes. These movements, together with organized labor, make up the progressive left in America today.

Politico’s Ben Smith knows about the Scheunemann-Soros connection, having written about it over a year ago. Smith, however, has mistakenly interpreted Soros’s activities around the world, especially in former communist states, as evidence of his anti-communism, rather than political meddling and attempts to secure favorable business deals. There is no reason to believe his activities in Burma are any different.

The key point, of course, is that the Koch brothers appear to have no connection to the new conservative organization. Smith’s other point was that conservatives are trying to imitate the success of CAP with the new venture.

This was grist for the crowd at CAP. Judd Legum, founder of the ThinkProgress.org affiliate of CAP, sent an email to supporters declaring that the Koch Brothers have “bankrolled the Tea Party” and other conservative groups and causes and that the “newest item on their shopping list” was the ThinkProgress clone. He falsely claimed, “The new organization, called the ‘Center for American Freedom,’ is being run by a lobbyist hired by Koch to advance their political agenda.” This was one step beyond the erroneous reporting of Politico.

Legum, Vice President for Communications and New Media at American Progress, a CAP affiliate, was previously the research director for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign.

On the matter of allegedly bankrolling the Tea Party, a central charge of Legum and CAP, this appears to be false as well. The Kochs say, “Neither Charles nor David Koch fund the Tea Parties. They are involved with and support an organization, which in turn has involvement with some Tea Party members…Partisan activists deliberately confuse Koch’s involvement with the Tea Parties in order to diminish and mischaracterize important and authentic citizen efforts as well as company support of education and human services programs.”

That organization is Americans for Prosperity, a group opposed to Obama’s agenda which does support Tea Party activists.

One version of the Politico article by Ben Smith said that Goldfarb “declined to say whether they [the Kochs] were among the donors to the Center for American Freedom.” Perhaps this is because Goldfarb didn’t want to talk about the names of any of his donors. But the insinuation from Politico was that Goldfarb was covering up. That was later changed or “updated” by Politico to say, “A spokesman for Koch Industries said the company had no connection, financial or otherwise, to the new Center for American Freedom.”

In fact, the statement was that “Charles Koch nor David Koch, nor any Koch company has provided funding to or has any involvement with the Center for American Freedom.” This statement ruled out any personal involvement by the Kochs as well.

So there is no evidence of a Koch connection, period. If there is, Politico should produce it.

By then, however, it was too late for the facts to take precedence. The liberal Economic Policy Journal trumpeted the “news” about a “Koch-Neocon Axis,” with “neocon” being a term that is supposed to disparage pro-Israel conservatives.

Despite lacking any hard evidence of a Koch connection, Smith went on: “But the group’s birth is the latest chapter of an ongoing battle the Kochs and other wealthy conservatives have been engaged in for a generation.” The use of the “but” phrase was meant to suggest that, despite the denial, the Center for American Freedom is somehow connected to Koch anyway. This is sloppy journalism to the point of deliberate distortion.

Facts didn’t get in the way of CAP, either. “While they can rely on the Kochs’ billions,” Legum said, “we rely on the support of your donations.” He neglected to mention that Soros is providing some of those donations. CAP received over $5 million from Soros in the 2005-2009 period.

Another interesting fact is the close relationship between CAP and the Obama White House.

Indeed, William A. Jacobson, author of the Legal Insurrection blog, points out, “A former senior Obama campaign staffer now runs CAP, and a current senior CAP strategist is set to take over Obama campaign messaging from inside the White House.” He added, “The merger of the White House and Think Progress is just about complete. Think Progress is in control, or is the Obama campaign, or is there no difference anymore?”

He is referring to Jennifer Palmieri, the President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund and Senior Vice President for Communications for CAP, who joined the White House as deputy communications director. Neera Tanden, the Chief Operating Officer of CAP, has become CAP president, after serving as the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign.

On the matter of funding, Jane Mayer wrote a New Yorker piece on “The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama” and accused the Kochs of spending more than $100 million on various conservative causes.

Even if true, this is peanuts compared to Soros and his Open Society Foundations, reported to be on track to give away about $860 million in 2011 alone, according to a December 7, 2011, article in The New York Times. Overall, Soros has acknowledged funneling about $8 billion to progressive and far-left causes here and abroad, all in the name of “human rights” and so forth.

Nothing from the Koch Brothers compares to Soros and his massive funding of various left-wing, socialist, Marxist and anti-American groups. Yet Politico’s Smith called the Kochs “dominant funders of a range of conservative causes and politicians,” giving them far more influence than they deserve or want. They are not even in the same ballpark as Soros.

It is significant that a big beneficiary of Soros largesse, in addition to CAP, is the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which currently represents WikiLeaks and is hoping to forestall a Justice Department indictment of founder Julian Assange on charges of espionage stemming from his alleged conspiracy with accused Army traitor Bradley Manning to steal and release classified U.S. counter-terrorism and intelligence information.

In on-line chats with Manning, his friend, Adrian Lamo, the ex-hacker who reported him to the authorities, said, “Too bad Philip Agee died. You and he would have fun conversations.” Agee, who died in Havana in 2008, was exposed in his FBI file as a conscious Cuban and Soviet KGB intelligence agent.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s foot-dragging on a WikiLeaks/Assange indictment is where real investigative journalists, on the left and right, should look. Let’s hope the new Center for American Freedom takes up the case.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at cliff.kin[email protected].

01/6/12

Slovakia’s Nuclear Schizophrenia – Shut Down, Continue As Usual, or Boldly Go – Where?

By: John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

The implosion of the USSR in December 1991 produced massive economic “collateral damage” in its East European allies, as they simultaneously sought both to assert their new-found independence and draw closer to their potential European allies on the western side of 1946’s “Iron Curtain.”

Following the euphoria, amity quickly devolved down to practical issues, one of which was that the European Union was leery of welcoming new members after the collapse of Communism that relied on power from Soviet-era nuclear power facilities, especially in the wake of the April 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in Ukraine.

Accordingly, the last two decades have devolved into a series of unseemly squabbles between Brussels and new Eastern European members, with the EU demanding the prompt shutdown of Soviet-era nuclear power plants, while governments east of Berlin plead understanding and extended timelines to shut down the facilities that provide major electrical input as they search for alternatives.

The latest post Cold War post-Soviet space energy front line is Slovakia.

What to do in Bratislava on the way to becoming good, clean, green members of the European Union?

Shut down all the country’s nuclear power plants and win plaudits in Brussels while inflicting brownouts or blackouts on the locals?

Beg for more time?

Adopt a matrix of energy change which includes some nuclear power while appealing to Brussels?

Right now, the answer is about as clear as the river flowing through Bratislava, “the beautiful Blue Danube,” to quote Richard Strauss.

Slovakia currently has four operational nuclear reactors at complexes in Jaslovske Bohunice and Mochovce, commissioned between 1984 and 1999. The facilities’ three oldest reactors have been shut down in accordance with EU mandates. The Jaslovske Bohunice two online 505 reactors alongside Mochovces’ twin 505 megawatt currently produce a net output of 1,711 megawatt hours of electricity, with nuclear energy currently producing overall approximately 50 percent of Slovakia’s electricity.

Prior to its accession to the European Union in 2004, Slovakia had to shut down two of its older reactors because they did not meet European safety standards. Slovakia made significant efforts to achieve World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) standards, but the EU nevertheless insisted on the shutdowns. The first Bohunice reactor closed on 31 December 2006 and the second Bohunice facility two years later. The closure of these units, prior to the completion of two new reactors left Slovakia short on power, with the country briefly becoming an energy importer after the first plant was shut down.

The Slovak government nevertheless seemingly remains committed to nuclear power. Two more reactors have been under construction at Mochovce since 1985 and which should be finished in 2012-2013.

Further complicating the picture beyond the Slovak Republic’s EU membership, Slovenske Elektrarne, a unit of Italy’s Enel, is the operator of the two nuclear power plants (NPPs).

But amidst the country’s nuclear quandary, one state agency seems poised for growth.

Jadrova a vyradovacia spolocnost, a.s., Slovakia’s nuclear decommissioning company, better known by the acronym JAVYS, intends to increase its investments this year by $19.5 million, a $4.4 million increase over 2010 funding levels. JAVYS spokesman Dobroslav Dobak said,”Of the planned investments in 2012, we will continue with preparation and implementation of projects related to decommissioning of (Bohunice) nuclear power plants A1 and V1, and projects aimed at reconstruction and construction of technologies used for handling spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.”

But the downside for Slovak environmentalists is that the global recession has impacted JAVYS funding as well, as last year JAVYS shed nearly 12 percent of its workforce, which now numbers 885 people. Dobak commented, “The decline is mainly related to the change of the status of V1 NPP which is no longer operating but is being decommissioned. Thus it is not necessary to operate several technological systems. At the same time, we optimize and improve effectiveness of our activities.”

So, where does Slovakia go from here? EU-friendly green or transitional post-Soviet nuclear?

The answer is anything but clear.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Slovakia-s-Nuclear-Schizophrenia-Shut-Down-Continue-As-Usual-or-Boldly-Go-Where.html

By: John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

01/6/12

ICE – Deporting American Citizens and Displaying Massive Incompetence

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Well, ICE surely screwed the pooch on the case of Jakadrien Lorece Turner. Jakadrien ran away from home in 2010 at the age of 14. She’s from Houston, TX where she lived with her mom and her step-father. Her grandmother and mother say that they were a very close family and they cannot figure out why she ran away. Her grades had been slipping and some of her privileges were taken away, so there may be a reason to be found there.

In 2011, Jakadrien was arrested for shoplifting in Houston, TX and at that time claimed to be someone she was not – Tika Lanay Cortez, a Colombian woman born in 1990. As I understand it, she claimed to be this woman who is a 22 year old illegal alien from Colombia. This is where you just can’t wrap your head around all this… ICE says they performed bio-metric tests on the girl matching her iris’, fingerprints and DNA to the illegal alien. Really? Seriously? I understand the girl kept insisting on the identity, but when the bio-metric info. didn’t match, did you just decide to lie to get this case off your desk or in fact, did you never perform the tests? Because it’s one of the two.

Obviously, you didn’t get any id off the girl, or if you did, you did not do your due diligence and verify the validity of it. She looks like a little girl, not a 22 year old. So what happened? She was deported to Colombia with the assistance of ICE, the State Department and the NSA. The NSA got her documents drawn up (obviously fake), so she could live and work there as a maid and at a call center, among other things.

According to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the girl was enrolled in the country’s “Welcome Home” program after she arrived there. She was given shelter, psychological assistance and a job at a call center, a statement from the agency said. When the Colombian government discovered she was a U.S. citizen, it put her under the care of a welfare program, the statement said.

And…

The Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Jakadrien was issued travel documents at the request of the U.S. National Security Agency and with information submitted by U.S. officials. Colombian officials are investigating what kind of verification was conducted by its Houston consulate to issue the temporary passport.

There was just one Fed here that was incompetent and screwed up, there was a whole chain of them. This girl would have disappeared if her grandmother had not become obsessed and demanded the Dallas Police Department find her. Which they did in conjunction with the Colombian government after looking for her for some time. She may be coming home soon after being down there for a year. She’s pregnant – that should be looked into, seriously. Even if it was consensual, she’s a minor. And the government is making noises of charging the child with claiming a false identity. Kids do stupid things, but evidently, ICE is even dumber and can’t do their job. They are great in letting illegal immigrants run rampant in our country breaking our laws etc., but they are Johnny On The Spot when it comes to deporting American citizens (especially minors).

I read some of the girl’s Facebook postings. Jakadrien seems to live in a fantasy land and may need psychological help. Recently, she has begged to come home. This whole time she has been working menial jobs and has not been in school. She is staying with God-knows-who and has been through the wringer. While ICE is deporting American citizens and displaying massive incompetence, I hope the girl’s family is retaining a great attorney who sues the government for all they are worth. This is one suit I could get behind in a heartbeat.