Friday, December 21, 2012

EPA cries ‘uncle’ in face of lawsuit, withdraws threat against W.Va. chicken farmer

The Environmental Protection Agency is backing off from a controversial lawsuit that brought farming groups out of the woodwork to defend a West Virginia farmer against charges that chicken droppings violated the Clean Water Act because rains could carry them into a stream located two football fields away.
The case mobilized agriculture organizations against what they saw as bureaucratic bullying that could impact thousands of other farmers. Green groups saw it as an opportunity to give the EPA tighter control over what they have derisively called “factory farms.”
The EPA said in November 2011 that Lois Alt and her husband needed a Clean Water Act discharge permit because rainwater on their farm could come into contact with dust, feathers or small amounts of chicken manure that strayed out of the large barns where they raise their flocks. Rainwater at Eight Is Enough Farms empties into Mudlick Run, a stream 200 yards away from the edge of the property.
The agency had warned the Alts that they could be fined up to $37,500 — per day — if they failed to apply for the permit, and another $37,500 per day if the government moved to enforce the Clean Water Act against them. But in a Dec. 13 letter, the EPA told their attorney it had withdrawn last year’s order entirely.
Alt told the agency in February that she intended to ignore the order. She sued the federal government in June, insisting that the threat was “arbitrary, capricious, not in accordance with the law, and in excess of the EPA’s jurisdiction and authority.”
The EPA’s threat was an attempt to define rainwater on livestock farms as a pollution “point source” under the Clean Water Act if it comes into contact with animal waste.
While the Clean Water Act considers animal barns themselves pollution point sources in some cases — if manure spills and seeps into rivers, lakes or streams, for instance — a sweeping 1972 amendment to the law specifically said point sources do “not include agricultural stormwater discharges.”
Via: Daily Caller

The ‘Reagan 13’ give Americans Something to Believe In

In the astroturfed Christmas Card Version of Obama’s 20-day Hawaiian holiday, (Michelle and daughters already there, but starting for Barry this weekend) the mental vision strived for is the regime and its staffers running happily, like the Moon-doggies of old, into the surf.

With Axelrod doing the astroturfing,  who needs Hollywood, and if Gidget can go Hawaiian, why not a lugubrious Valerie or Michelle?

The astroturf version of the Obamas’ $4 million holiday in Hawaii is set to demoralize and depress the proletariat.  It vividly underlines how the rich and powerful get to spend long, care free days kissed by the sun, while the left behind average citizenry of the winter-bound Northeast get to spend theirs slogging through the slush.

The Obamas and their traveling road show can, and do, holiday whenever they want. The real reason for ‘Obama’s Vacation From Four Years of Vacation’ is a strategy session to savor driving the last nails into the coffin lid of “the home of the brave”.

If Obama was power drunk before his reelection, imagine his euphoric mental state as he heads out for Hawaii today.

Confident with the four years the November 6 election grants him, Obama is planning an airtight new world for what he sees as his hapless, can’t-do-anything-to-stop-him constituents.

In the coming new world shaped by the Marxism-obsessed Obama, Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod et al, there will be no room for competition.  It goes without saying that there’s never any room for competition in anti-Free Market, Marxist set ups.Confident with the four years the November 6 election grants him, Obama is planning an airtight new world for what he sees as his hapless, can’t-do-anything-to-stop-him constituents.

In the coming new world shaped by the Marxism-obsessed Obama, Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod et al, there will be no room for competition.  It goes without saying that there’s never any room for competition in anti-Free Market, Marxist set ups.

Via: Canada Free Press

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Reagan’s House Heroes Stop Plan B

Call it a Reykjavik Moment.
An Air Traffic Controllers Moment.
Both of which were Reagan Moments.
Moments in American history when, under extreme pressure, Ronald Reagan simply refused to buckle. Against all the chorus shouted from the media and congressional bleachers — that he had failed by walking out on a bad deal with Gorbachev or recklessly fired striking air traffic controllers who were striking against federal law — Ronald Reagan never blinked.
And the fact that he didn’t blink made America — and the world — an infinitely better place.
Thursday night 13 conservative House Republicans defeated the Rule for the vote on Speaker Boehner’s highly controversial “Plan B.”
Those conservatives, by name (an asterisk denoting those who will not be returning to Congress next year) are:
Justin Amash of MI
Paul Broun of GA
Trent Franks of AZ
Louie Gohmert of TX
Tim Huelskamp of KS
Walter Jones of NC
Jim Jordan of OH
Andy Harris of MD
Jeff Landry of LA*
Thomas Massie of KY
Ron Paul of TX*
Jean Schmidt of OH*
Joe Walsh of IL*
Let’s not forget here that in terms of pressure, a great deal of it was coming from the GOP House Leadership. Congressmen Amash, Huelskamp, and Jones were removed from their committee assignments for not cooperating with the Leadership.
And make no mistake….the talk radio stars jumped on this, each in their own way. Rush was there. Hannity was there. Levin was there.
Then there was the great Brent Bozell from For America (as reported at Breitbart) pounding away just Wednesday at a Capitol Hill presser saying:
I’m going to make a prediction, right here and now, and write it down – and call me on it. If the Republicans support this tax increase, they will lose control of the House in the 2014 elections,” Bozell said.

‘Democratic’ and ‘Anti-Business’ Are Becoming Synonymous

Forbes’s recently released list of “The Best States for Businesses and Careers” provides further evidence of the Democratic party’s striking erosion as a party of economic growth and prosperity.  Based on their votes in the most recent presidential election, all but three of Forbes’s top-10 states are Republican-leaning, while all but two of its bottom-10 states are Democratic-leaning. 
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The top-10 states on Forbes’s list — Utah, Virginia, North Dakota, North Carolina, Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Iowa — voted for Mitt Romney by an average margin of 14 percentage points.  Meanwhile, the bottom-10 states on Forbes’s list — California, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Vermont, West Virginia, Mississippi, Michigan, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Maine — voted for President Obama by an average margin of 13 points.  That’s a 27-point swing from Romney to Obama as we move from the top-10 states to the bottom-10 states.
Forbes rated the states based on six factors: “business costs,” “labor supply,” “regulatory environment,” “economic climate,” “growth prospects,” and “quality of life.”  Forbes rated 62 percent of Obama’s states as being below average and 63 percent of Romney’s states as being above average.  Obama won only 33 percent of Forbes’s top-15 states but 73 percent of its bottom-15 states.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Court Rebukes Obama Administration’s “Trust Us” Revision of the HHS Mandate

The influential D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a short procedural order rebuking the Obama Administration in a lawsuit that was filed by Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College. The two religiously affiliated organizations had challenged the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) anti-conscience mandate that requires them to fund health care plans for their employees that provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization, or else pay substantial penalties.
As discussed in a Heritage Legal Memorandum, the plaintiffs have very strong claims that the mandate violates their rights under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Following the uproar that ensued after the mandate was issued, the government announced a one-year, temporary enforcement suspension against some religious employers. The Obama Administration misleadingly labeled this move a “safe harbor.” The Administration then announced its intention to develop and propose changes to the HHS mandate that would provide contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing to covered individuals while at the same time accommodating the religious objections of nonprofit organizations like the plaintiffs.
In light of this non-binding promise to make some hypothetical policy changes that would supposedly assuage objectors’ concerns, some lower courts dismissed this and other similar lawsuits as being premature. But the D.C. Circuit has now indicated that it is prepared to hold the government’s feet to the fire, so to speak.

The Cost of Spending: Can deficit-reduction plans make a dent?

The report from President Obama's highly touted deficit-reduction commission came out two years and 18 days ago. 

On that brisk December morning, Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad painted a dire picture if lawmakers didn't move quickly.

"If we fail to act now, our country could find itself in a circumstance in which we have to take draconian action, at the worst possible time in the middle of a crisis. I pray to God that we have the wisdom to act before that point," he said. 

The two commission co-chairmen couldn't agree more. "This baby ain't going away," co-chairman Alan Simpson said.

But so far, Congress has not been able to pass a plan that achieves what their proposal would -- a $4 trillion deficit reduction within 10 years. And it's unclear if they ever will. 

In the current talks over the looming fiscal crisis, the deal on the table is considerably smaller -- and yet President Obama said Wednesday that Republicans should be pleased with the spending cuts they'd be getting him to sign onto.

"Take the deal," he said. "You know, they will be able to claim that they have worked with me over the last two years to reduce the deficit more than any other deficit reduction package; that we will have stabilized it for 10 years. That is a significant achievement for them. They should be proud of it." 

But clearly, they're not.

Last week, Republicans warned about "kicking the can down the road" and "doing all the gimmicks that have been done in the past." 

Leader Reid rules out Senate vote on 'Plan B'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday the Senate will not vote on Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) "Plan B" to extend tax rates for family income below $1 million.
The Democratic leader blasted Boehner for wasting time on "fiscal cliff" legislation that will not see floor time in the upper chamber.

“We are not taking up any of the things that they’re working on over there now,” Reid told reporters. “It’s very, very, very unfortunate the Republicans have wasted an entire week on a number of pointless political stunts.” 
“The bill has no future, if they don’t know it now, tell them what I said,” he added.
Reid said Boehner should schedule a House vote on the Senate-passed bill to extend the Bush-era tax rates for family income below $250,000.  
“The Senate bill is the only one that will be signed into law. We could protect middle-class families tomorrow,” Reid said. “The Speaker refuses to bring our bill to the floor because it would pass.”
Republicans argue the Senate-passed bill is not a solution to the stalemate because it would allow tax rates on inheritances and dividend income to rise dramatically.
Democratic leaders say the GOP plan will not see the light of day in the upper chamber because it raises taxes on middle-class families, does not extend the college tuition tax credit, the earned income tax credit or the child tax credit and includes an “unrealistic proposal” for the estate tax. 
Boehner’s plan would keep the top estate tax rate at 35 percent. It is scheduled to rise to 55 percent without congressional action.


In a December 13 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Peter Berekowitz, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, argued that big government and the sexual revolution are here to stay. He urged conservatives to get used to it and to content themselves with shaping those realities.

A similar argument was pressed upon Britons in the 19th century when socialism was in its ascendancy. To that, James Fitzjames Stephen responded: “The waters are out and no human force can turn them back, but I do not see why as we go with the stream we need sing Hallelujah to the river god.”
But Stephen and other conservatives of that period did not surrender to the waters. They offered a powerful alternative vision of ordered liberty. That vision and political theory is as potent today as it was more than a century ago.
There is no doubt that the welfare state will be difficult to dismantle. In fact, we are now struggling just to reduce its rate of growth. Yet, it will never be contained without the forceful articulation of the alternative conservative vision.
It is imperative that conservatives challenge the very legitimacy of the welfare state and show that its burdens, both financial and psychological, will inevitably destroy the American Republic. This necessarily means an engagement with progressives over political ideology. Theirs is fundamentally flawed. The conservative vision is the only hope for preserving a governing system that produced a nation that was truly the envy of the rest of the world.
Not all political concepts can coexist. Conservatism and big government cannot coexist. The ideology of American Progressivism, as practiced by the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress, is eroding the foundations of our constitutional system and national economy. That threat will not be defeated by efforts to shape and moderate the progressive ideology. Only a direct challenge holds the promise of achieving what is necessary to save the nation.

Hillary’s Benghazi Report (ARB) Blames Amb. Christopher Stevens (Part 3)

Click here for The Fix is in—Part I and Part II

When government officials like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton self- investigate themselves in ‘internal’ ‘independent’ reviews the truth is always covered up and buried. While you were sleeping on Tuesday night the Obama-Clinton regime did just that when they released a 39-page, unclassified report, an Accountability Review Board (ARB), on the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods and Sean Smith, a computer expert.

Straight out of the Clinton era cover-up playbook, everyone except Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, disgraced, philandering ex-CIA director David Petraeus (the mastermind of the failed, deadly COIN policy in Afghanistan), and Defense Chief Leon Panetta, are blamed including the deceased. In this case—Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

On page 6 and 34 of ARB, Hillary’s handpicked ARB Board, chaired by Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering with Admiral Michael Mullen as Vice Chairman determined:

“The Board found that Ambassador Stevens made the decision to travel to Benghazi independently of Washington, per standard practice. Timing for his trip was driven in part by commitments in Tripoli, as well as a staffing gap between principal officers in Benghazi. Plans for the Ambassador’s trip provided for minimal close protection security support and were not shared thoroughly with the Embassy’s country team, who were not fully aware of planned movements off compound. The Ambassador did not see a direct threat of an attack of this nature and scale on the U.S. Mission in the overall negative trendline of security incidents from spring to summer 2012. His status as the leading U.S. government advocate on Libya policy, and his expertise on Benghazi in particular, caused Washington to give unusual deference to his judgments.”

Via: Canada Free Press

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OPINION: Why Boehner's Plan B Is Conservatives' Best Hope

Photo - WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 19: U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) makes a statement to the media at the U.S. Capitol on December 19, 2012 in Washington, DC. Speaker Boehner spoke about the ongoing talks with the White House on the so-called "fiscal cliff."  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
After President Obama was re-elected on Nov. 6, Americans faced a reality on Nov. 7: Taxes are going up. The only question facing conservatives now is how much of that tax hike they can prevent while also preserving as much of the hard-fought spending cuts they won in 2011.
Here are the facts: If nothing happens by Jan. 1, taxes will automatically rise by about $4.6 trillion over 10 years. Every working American would be hit. However, thanks to the August 2011 debt-limit deal, spending is also set to be cut by $1.2 trillion. Conservatives often forget about this little piece of leverage.
Obama's top priority is to raise taxes as high as he possibly can. A $1.3 trillion tax hike was his latest offer. But undoing the $1.2 trillion spending cut in the debt-limit deal is also important to him. His latest offer not only rescinds the scheduled spending cut, but it also calls for $80 billion in new stimulus spending. Obama did also offer to cut Social Security by $120 billion over 10 years and make $800 billion more in other unspecified spending cuts, but he has flat out refused to entertain any serious entitlement reform proposals.
Boehner's last offer to Obama wasn't much better. It only raised taxes by $1 trillion and undid the $1.2 trillion spending cut from the debt-limit deal. Boehner did call for a new $1 trillion spending cut to replace the sequester, but no meaningful structural entitlement reforms were included.

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