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Pork-barrel politics at the EPA

By Jonathan R. Nash

power plant

In its proposed new regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that many of the benefits of its mandate will arise not from the direct benefits of lower levels of carbon emissions, but from so-called health “co-benefits” — benefits of reductions in the emission of other pollutants (particulate matter and ozone) that come about as a byproduct of carbon emission reductions. It is certainly the case that the EPA — and government in general — should consider ancillary benefits that result from regulation. However, when the lion’s share of a regulation’s benefits arises from co-benefits, it looks as though the tail is wagging the dog. This lack of regulatory transparency is problematic for two reasons. First, by eschewing direct regulation of the co-pollutants under the Clean Air Act, the EPA leaves itself open to the charge that it is playing politics rather than engaging in reasoned decision-making. Indeed, opponents have assailed the EPA for waging war on coal with the proposed rule. Second, by promulgating a rule that generates more co-benefits than direct benefits — and by emphasizing that fact in promoting the rule — the EPA effectively marginalizes the problem of climate change.

Congress generally designed the Clean Air Act so that the EPA would regulate pollutants on an individual basis; at least one reason for this choice was to foster transparent debate over whether, and how best, to regulate particular pollutants. With its proposed rule, the EPA seems to be more concerned with addressing pollution from coal but under the rubric of climate change regulation. To be sure, there are strong arguments in favor of more stringent environmental regulation of coal: Coal combustion does impose substantial health costs, and many heavily polluting coal-fired power plants today remain in service far beyond the predicted end of their lives. That there is merit in the idea, however, does not mean that the idea should be floated openly.
The EPA’s attempt to garner political support for its proposed carbon regulation actually casts climate change as a less-important problem than the administration has repeatedly asserted that it is. The absence of adequate regulation over co-pollutants makes carbon regulation appear more necessary. In some of the EPA’s models, the co-benefits of carbon regulation dwarf the direct climate change benefits. Indeed, the difference in magnitude could be said to be even larger than it appears, insofar as the EPA models (1) consider the global direct benefits of carbon reduction but only the domestic co-benefits, and (2) generally discount the co-benefits more heavily than the direct benefits. The EPA thus is justifying — or at least selling — carbon regulation through indirect benefits. This strategy may bring on board as supporters people who doubt the reality of anthropogenic climate change, but it begs the question: If climate change is truly insurmountable and raises the possibility of truly catastrophic harm, why are the direct benefits of climate change regulation much smaller than the co-benefits? In an effort to gain political support, the EPA and the administration risk undermining the perception that climate change is the pressing environmental challenge that demands our immediate action and attention.

Nash is a professor at Emory University School of Law. He specializes in the study of environmental law, legislation and regulation, and the federal courts and judiciary. Follow him @JonathanRNash.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/energy-environment/209431-pork-barrel-politics-at-the-epa#ixzz35BVMJRa1
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Fox News star goes public: Impeach Obama

judge-jeanine-pirro-600
Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro has launched a scathing, on-air indictment of President Barack Obama, calling for his impeachment from office.

On Saturday night’s broadcast of “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” Pirro uncorked a blistering verbal assault on Obama in connection with his handling of the fatal onslaught of the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, and the subsequent cover-up.

“Mr. President, it’s called an abrogation of duty,” Pirro said. “You have not taken your oath to honestly and faithfully execute the duties of your office. As commander in chief, you have NOT protected us. This dereliction of duty as commander in chief demands your impeachment.”

Watch a 90-second clip of Judge Jeanine Pirro calling for Obama’s impeachment:


“Your cover-up was for political advantage,” she continued. “The promotion thereafter of virtually everyone involved in your conspiracy and the stonewalling of Congress, the denying of access to key witnesses all add up to a classic cover-up.”

Read the definitive case for removing Barack Obama from office in “Impeachable Offenses” by Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott.
“And what’s that? You were elected?” Pirro rhetorically asked Obama as she placed her hand behind her ear.

“There is no contract with someone who thinks that the American people are nothing more than pawns in an all-consuming power play to change who we are as a nation.”

She concluded by calling Obama an arrogant deceiver.

“You swore to protect and defend the American people, but instead you left Americans to die, not lifting a finger to help them. Mr. President, none of us want to believe that our president will let Americans die, but the arrogance, the failure to act, the lies, the cover-up make it clear that you, Mr. President, have defrauded the American people.

“You, Mr. President, have violated your constitutional oath. You have not faithfully executed your duties in the office of the president.”

Watch the entire segment of Jeanine Pirro’s indictment of Obama:

WND has been reporting on members of Congress who have discussed impeachment. The list now includes:

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa; Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas; Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas; Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas; Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.; Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich.; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.; Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.; and Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.

Just last week, WND reported how Pirro also lashed into the U.S. Senate majority leader, whom she labeled “Dirty Harry” Reid.

Judge Jeanine asserted the federal Bureau of Land Management’s surge of interest in land used by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy to graze his cattle has more to do with dollars and power projects than any interest in protecting a tortoise that also lives on the land.

In a special commentary on her program, she said Reid, a Nevada Democrat, may have had an ulterior motive for the attempted land grab from Bundy: energy projects.

Watch Jeanine Pirro take on “Dirty Harry” Reid:


She said if a solar energy project is expected to impact thousands of acres of desert land in the state, federal rules would require a mitigation zone, where animals that may be protected or endangered could be moved from the project site.

As WND reported, the BLM has mentioned Bundy’s cattle and the grazing land he uses in connection with solar power projects.

Pirro said “Dirty Harry” had been watching federal land being transferred and used for shopping malls and other projects for years until the “armed military type agents came in like stormtroopers.”

“You need snipers to move cows, Harry? Really?” she asked.

Pirro explained a solar project proposed on nearby land by a Chinese company with links to Reid would require that mitigation area.

“The BLM actually posted documents designating the mitigation area so that the solar power project can move forward,” she reported. “Unfortunately, that designated mitigation area has cattle on it.

“Harry, in my other life, I did investigations. I presented cases to grand juries,” she said. “Oh, to be a prosecutor again. Oh, to present this to a grand jury. Oh, to put ‘Dirty Harry’ under oath on the witness stand,” she continued.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/05/fox-news-star-unleashed-impeach-obama/#YfGqhSF54HeVQZXh.99

Evidence of Widespread Voter Fraud Found in Virginia Governor’s Race – IT SEEMS THAT All Democrats are Criminals

mcauliffeRichmond, VA–Merely hours after the close of a bitter and divisive Governor’s race in Virginia that saw Democrat Terry McAuliffe pull out a win over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, irregularities in voting data have emerged. According to mainstream media outlets McAuliffe supposedly defeated Cuccinelli in a razor-thin 47-46 percent victory to become the next Governor of the great state of Virginia.
Immediately following the announcement, Cuccinelli’s office opened a full investigation into the legitimacy of the vote and quickly turned up surprising results. In 13 districts, multiple instances of intimidation at the polls were reported. Large black men wearing traditional Black Panther garb were reported lingering around polling places approaching older voters asking questions about who they intended on voting for. In Loudoun and Fairfax counties (traditional Democratic strongholds), election officials withheld submitting voter data in order to get an idea of whether to count absentee ballots or not. In an audit of the voter registration information, it quickly became apparent that MULTIPLE votes were cast by people who were either deceased or had long ago moved out of the district.
According to exit polling Cuccinelli won the race by big margins reaching a high percent of the key voting blocks of women, Latinos and Blacks.
Cuccinelli was a target of large amounts of out of state financing as the Democrats set out to make the race be a referendum against the Tea Party movement. McAuliffe got a late boost from Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as Joe Biden, who campaigned hard for the Democrat.
Even in defeat Cuccinelli reminded voters that the election was in fact a referendum against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. “Despite being outspent by an unprecedented $15 million,” he said, ”this race came down to the wire because of Obamacare. That message will go out across America tonight.”
Sources within Cuccinelli’s office have warned that “this is not over” and that Ken will be challenging the results of the election in court.
No such irregularities have been discovered in New Jersey where Republican candidate Chris Christie was re-elected in a landslide victory.
By Chase Logan

More Than Half Of Counties Covered By Healthcare.gov Can’t Afford Obamacare’s ‘Affordable’ Prices

by Ben Bullard
Obamacare-411
A USA Today report Thursday shows that the Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable in more than half of the counties in the 34 States where eligible buyers must purchase insurance through Healthcare.gov, the Federal government’s online insurance marketplace.
According to the analysis, more than half of the counties on the exchange don’t even offer customers a basic bronze-level health care plan. Among the color tiers that denote insurance plans that run the gamut from affordable to luxurious, the low-tier bronze plans are regarded as the cheapest, in part because they require higher copays and have higher maximum payout limits that customers must meet each year before the insurance plan kicks in.
“More than half of the counties in 34 states using the federal health insurance exchange lack even a bronze plan that’s affordable — by the government’s own definition — for 40-year-old couples who make just a little too much for financial assistance,” the piece reports:
Many of these counties are in rural, less populous areas that already had limited choice and pricey plans, but many others are heavily populated, such as Bergen County, N.J., and Philadelphia and Milwaukee counties.
More than a third don’t offer an affordable plan in the four tiers of coverage known as bronze, silver, gold or platinum for people buying individual plans who are 50 or older and ineligible for subsidies.
…”The ACA was not designed to reduce costs or, the law’s name notwithstanding, to make health insurance coverage affordable for the vast majority of Americans,” says health care consultant Kip Piper, a former government and insurance industry official. “The law uses taxpayer dollars to lower costs for the low-income uninsured but it also increases costs overall and shifts costs within the marketplace.”
The newspaper considered whether premiums for the most affordable insurance plan, at any “color” level, amounted to more than 8 percent of an eligible customer’s annual household income – a method similar to that employed by the government to calculate whether people are eligible to opt out of buying coverage under Obamacare based on their ability to cover the cost of the premiums they’d have to pay.
“[T]he analysis clearly shows how the sticker shock hitting many in the middle class, including the self-employed and early retirees, isn’t just a perception problem,” the paper found. “The lack of counties with affordable plans means many middle-class people will either opt out of insurance or pay too much to buy it.”

The Nature of Things

When my grandmother was born a horse was the normal means of transport.  When my granddaughter was born the International Space Striation was the brightest light in the night’s sky. In other words, things change.   When I sat on the couch and watched the first man walk on the moon with my grandmother she didn’t believe it was real.  When I tell my low information neighbors that the International Space Striation is the brightest light in the night’s sky they don’t believe it is true.  In other words, human nature doesn’t change.

To allow our leaders, our fellow citizens, our own kith and kin the charitable label of misguided dreamers is the closest I can come to innocently explaining their roles as either accomplices or instigators of our national decline.  I try to tell myself they are as Lenin and Stalin are reputed to have called them, “Useful Idiots:” well-meaning people who genuinely believe central planning will help the needy.  I try not to let myself think the Progressives and their supporters are actually extremely corrupt and evil people who are actively attempting to transform our beloved experiment in freedom into another forced labor camp striving to achieve Utopia.

The problem with utopian dreams is that they always end in dystopian realities.  Lenin’s dream of a worker’s paradise transformed itself into Stalin’s nightmare of the gulags, starvation, and the eventual destruction of their nation.  Mussolini’s dream of a return to the glories of Rome led directly to the loss of the empire they had and the destruction of their nation.  Hitler’s dream of a Thousand Year Reich led directly to the Gestapo, the holocaust, the worst war in History, and the destruction of their nation.

How can we believe we can follow a dream of utopia to any other end than the one everyone else has arrived at: the dust bin of History?

Some may say, “But we are Americans, and we have always done the things others could not do.”  You will find no more ardent believer in American Exceptionalism than I.   I truly believe, not that diversity is our strength but instead that the blending of all into a uniquely American hybrid has created the most talented, most dynamic, and most successful nation the world has ever known.  It is not the will or the talents of our homegrown American collectivists that I question; it is the very nature of collectivism that I maintain makes the accomplishment of their utopian dream impossible.

People can have the best of intentions; however, if they believe they can take from Peter to pay Paul without making Peter resent the fact that he has less than he had before they don’t know Peter very well.  And if they think they can set Paul up as a perpetual recipient of the swag taken from Peter without creating a pool of Paul’s who constantly want more and who resent those who do the distributing they have never worked in a soup kitchen, a food bank, or a giveaway store for more than a day.

The vast majority of people are not by nature altruistic milk cows, and they resent it when that is how they are viewed by the nameless faceless bureaucracy necessary to make the machinery of utopia crank out the shabby imitation they deliver.  Conversely the vast majority of people are not by nature perpetual mooches content to stand with their hands out waiting for the nameless faceless bureaucracy to deliver the bare minimum needed to survive which is always the bounty that actually drops from the utopian extruder.

I contend that a collectivist redistribution Utopia whether it is called Progressive, Socialist, Communist, Fascist, or merely the right thing to do is contrary to the nature of humanity.

People by nature want to be self-reliant.  They want to make things better for themselves and their children.  People want to strive for something noble, and they want to feel as if their lives matter.  Yet in an industrial world divided into haves and have nots it is easy to understand how the frustration of being a have not can convince someone that there needs to be a more equitable division of the material goods which modern civilization abundantly provides.

Having come from a blue collar family and having spent the majority of my life as a self-employed boom or bust house painter I can well relate to not having health insurance because you can’t afford it, I couldn’t.  I can relate to having mornings where you don’t know what you will feed your family that night because I have had those days.  I know what it is like to be a high school dropout who can’t get anything except a menial low paying job, because I have been that person.  Yes, I can relate to the situations which might make a person believe we need to spread the wealth around.

I also know what it feels like to have to get food stamps and other things from public and private assistance just to make it through the day because I have done so.  I know how the welfare people make you feel, the way they treat you as if you are trying to take their personal money or the condescension of pity.

What I can’t relate to is either thinking it is a good thing to consign our fellow citizens to such a life or to being satisfied with such a life.

Not only does a welfare state corrupt both the dispensers and the recipients it carries the seeds of its own destruction. Eventually the recipients will want more than the dispensers are willing to give, and revolution or collapse will be the end result.

In addition, since redistribution as a state policy always means stealing from Peter to pay Paul, ultimately the thief will need a gun.  Though Peter may be a nice person and at first say, “Sure I can contribute something to help poor old Paul,” if poor old Paul never gets back on his feet sooner or later Peter will wonder why Paul doesn’t start providing for himself.  At that point the contributions are no longer voluntary and they must be taken one way or another.  There is also the question of how many Pauls can Peter carry without either shrugging like Atlas or becoming a Paul himself in self-defense. As Margret Thatcher taught us, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

Plunder empires always collapse.  Utopias always end up eating the goose that laid the golden egg.  Central planning and collectivism: the Progressive dream for a Great Society has never, can never, and will never succeed. It just isn’t natural.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

Step by Step Inch by Inch

How do you fundamentally transform a nation from what it has been to what a clique of ideologues wants it to be?  The easiest way is to convince the general population that what the would-be masters want is what the people want.  Those seeking to subvert a culture must take a long view.  They must realize that this will be a multistage project that will take generations to achieve.

As an example that will strike home and ring true to every engaged American let’s look at how the Progressives have incrementally moved us from the best educated, most politically engaged population in History to a flock of militantly apathetic fans.  Couch potatoes waiting for the next game or reality show unaware how our government operates and impatient with anyone who tries to explain it to them.  How did they nudged us from the most self-reliant people in the world to a line of people waiting hat in hand for the next transfer payment?

The first goal was the educational system.  Capture that and it was possible to raise up generations who either thought as they did or who didn’t think at all.  Dumb it down, exchange confused thinking for critical thinking and soon the people who once asked hard questions will swallow easy answers.  The best place to start is at the colleges and universities.  If you can convince a generation of teachers that the snake-oil you’re selling will cure everything you will soon have them indoctrinating generations that the sickness is really the cure.

A target of particular interest is of course was journalism schools.  Once these schools become factories churning out carbon copies it isn’t necessary to have an official propaganda ministry. The journalists themselves will self-censor anything that doesn’t fit the reality they imbibed along with the Kool-aide.  Once the editorial boards and the human resource departments are filled with clones none but clones need apply.  Today the portals of American media are filled with people who don’t even know someone who is pro-life.  They don’t know anyone who sympathizes with the Tea Party.  So those on the other side are always the other.  There is no understanding or compassion for thoughts and ideas they find foreign and alien even though they represent the thinking of the majority of Americans.  So as we cling to our Bibles and our guns the megaphones of the public discourse represent mainstream America as a fringe while holding up a cross section of the Jerry Springer Show or the Gong Show as the new normal.

The next target in America’s transition from a society built upon individualism, self-reliance and innovation into a centrally-planned experiment in utopian collectivism might have been the hardest or it might have been the easiest: capitalism itself.

As layer after layer of regulations entangled the economy there came a tipping point.   This was reached when government interference in the economy became the dominant feature.  Then business decisions were no longer made because they were right but instead because of how they intersected with government policy.  Look at the stock market today.  It no longer moves due to innovation or even speculation it instead moves like a marionette to the strings pulled by the Federal Reserve.  It reacts to real, perceived or imagined government actions.

No longer do we have Henry Fords or J. D. Rockefellers moving and shaking the economy to build industries.  Now we have crony capitalists who use their connections to get sweetheart deals, tax subsidies and bailouts.   Too Big to Fail has replaced Laissez-faire and it is no longer what you know but who you know that brings success in America.

The most insidious aspect of this incremental transformation of America is what it has done to truth.  Once thought to be an objective reality, in a centralized utopia truth must become whatever endorses and supports the efforts to reach the designated goals.  If necessary, good becomes bad, up becomes down and dark becomes light if that is what is required to make the assumptions and conclusions of the planners plausible.

War becomes peace.  Inequality becomes equality.  Pork becomes stimulus.   Stonewalling and taking the fifth becomes the most transparent administration in history and the destruction of the greatest health system ever known becomes affordable care.

As the meanings of words change it becomes increasingly hard to hold an intelligent conversation, because no one is sure what anyone else means.  This cannot be viewed as the natural evolution of language.  This is a direct by-product of the effort to centrally-plan a society.  Since all efforts must be bent to the centrally directed goals all thoughts must be shaped to conform to the politically correct thoughts of the leaders.  All other thoughts become suspect and are held up to ridicule.

The prevailing mood of cynicism and the general intellectual climate that this produces brings about the loss of even the meaning of truth.  Truth becomes relative.  It is wholly dependent upon political considerations as the spirit of independent inquiry itself disappears.   Under the constant barrage of the all-embracing central government and their willing allies in the media the belief in the power of rational conviction fades from view and only the official line seems to make sense to those who through either apathy or complacency swallow the party line and march in lock-step from freedom to serfdom.

The desire to force people to accept a creed and to salute the flag is nothing new.  What is new is the justification for doing so that lies at the basis of our current round of communal thought control.  It is believed by some that there is no real freedom of thought in any society at all.  The thoughts of the masses have always been and will always be shaped by what we now call propaganda or governmental advertising by the laws and regulations of the leaders and the example of the upper classes.  Those who wish to regiment thought and control opinion act as if since this is so it is incumbent upon them to direct the thoughts of the masses into a desirable direction.  Or in other words a direction that supports the movement towards the goals and objectives previously chosen by the central planners.

Incrementally, step by step, inch by inch the highly individualistic descendants of the pioneers have become a mob clamoring for bread and circuses.  Dependent upon government for their very livelihood a large portion, perhaps a majority of the electorate, eagerly embrace the thinking needed to justify robbing their fellow citizens through transfer payments to subsidize their lifestyle.  Society becomes rigid and any deviance from the proscribed way of thinking is ostracized.  Any attempt to break free of the stranglehold of political correctness on the thoughts and opinions of a once free people must be punished.   The best that we can hope is that since we have gone step by step and inch by inch eventually, slowly we will turn.

In George Orwell’s classic 1984 it was the thought police that monitored and directed the thoughts of an entire nation.  On a smaller scale the sadistic captain of the chain-gang in Cool Hand Luke phrased it this way when referring to people who tried to break out of the system, “You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains. You run twice you got yourself two sets. You ain’t gonna need no third set, ’cause you gonna get your mind right.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

HELP US KEEP YOU BETTER INFORMED ABOUT THE TRICKS OF THE RADICAL PROGRESSIVE REVOLUTION PLEASE DONATE ANY AMOUNT YOU CAN