Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Freedom, Junk Science, Law, Regulation | Tags: Cancelling Inconvenient Laws, Climate Change Is Not the Threat, Does Duke Energy Get Off?
The Justice Department announced a couple of weeks ago that “a subsidiary of Duke Energy has agreed to pay $1 million for killing golden eagles and other federally protected birds at two of the company’s wind projects in Wyoming. The guilty plea was long overdue victory for the rule of law and a sign that green energy might be going out of vogue.”
“As Justice noted in its news release, this if the first time a case has been brought against a wind company for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The 1918 law makes it a federal crime to kill any bird of more than 1,000 different species. Over the past few decades, federal authorities have brought hundreds of cases against oil and gas companies for killing birds, while the wind industry has enjoyed a de facto exemption. By bringing criminal charges against Duke for killing 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds, Justice has ended the legal double standard on enforcement.”
Triumph of hope over Obama priorities. The Obama administration is about to approve a rule that will ensure the death of golden and bald eagles for the next 30 more years. Hundreds of thousands of birds die each year flying into the deadly turbine blades atop the towers of a wind farm. Many wind farms are built in mountain passes where wind is more likely, but that is the birds migrating course as well. The birds that are not chopped up by turbines are often fried by solar arrays.
It gets to be a real problem when you divide everything up into political interest groups, according to how much cash they donate. The Keystone XL Pipeline proved that Greens trump Unions. Unions trump Hispanics, and Hispanics trump Blacks. Where women fit into the priority line, I don’t know, or Gays. The good of the country, or the rule of law, are nowhere to be found. Politics trumps all.
The renewable energy business is also losing its lustre, as the public discovers how expensive “green jobs” are. In January Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reported that each wind related job in Texas, the top wind energy state in the union, cost taxpayers $1.75 million. People are also discovering that they don’t much like wind turbines that ruin scenic countryside, reduce property values and create excessive noise. Chris Clarke of KCET reported that the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a new solar-thermal project in the Mojave Desert killed 52 birds just in October, killed by the intense heat generated by the project’s mirrors.
The President does not change his mind. If he believed that Infrastructure was the key to economic growth in 2008, he still believe that today. Unfortunately, the world is changing its mind. Global warming is no longer a threat, the climate has been cooling for 17 years, and “alternative energy” is way too expensive, and in light of our new wealth in oil and gas from fracking and shale-oil projects on course to make us the Saudi Arabia of the world, maybe it’s not worth it to kill all those birds so carelessly.
And the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 is just an old law. The President can just wave his hand and say that it doesn’t apply to his administration because he likes wind and solar energy better.
Filed under: Capitalism, Education, Freedom, History, Law, Politics, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: Philadelphia 1787, Separation of Powers, The U.S. Constitution.
From Bernard Bailyn’s The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution:
“At the Philadelphia convention, with exquisite care and with delicate nuances, they devised a complex constitution that would generate the requisite power but would so distribute its flow and uses that no one body of men and no one institutional center would ever gain a monopoly of force or influence that would dominate the nation.”
In every generation, we need to remind the people of the care and wisdom that went into the making of the Constitution. It has worked for 286 years, and remains unique among nations in its establishment by “We the People,” and the limited powers that it grants to the government. And it is up to us to remind our representatives in government of its meaning, and to insure that our schools teach its history and its meaning .
See also: Catherine Drinker Bowen’s Miracle at Philadelphia
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Intelligence, Law, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: Jeremy Rabkin, Michael Mukasey, NSA Data Collection
Scott Johnson reported at Powerline on a panel on NSA data collection at the National Lawyers Convention. The panel consisted of moderator former Acting Attorney General George Terwilliger, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and George Mason University Law Professor Jeremy Rabkin.
If you had concerns about the activities of the NSA, about National Security, and what is meant by data collection or just wondered ‘what-the-heck’ in the wake of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, you will find this fascinating. What starts as a question about what is turns into a question of accountability. How do you make government accountable, and what is the responsibility of the executive to be accountable and make sure that his appointees are accountable. It is deeply interesting and worth your time.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Law, The United States | Tags: King v. Sebelius, Halbig v. Sebelius, Next Stop the Appelate Courts
Under the letter of the Affordable Care Act, subsidies for health insurance premiums are only available for state exchanges. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have set up exchanges. In May 2012, the IRS issued regulations to extend subsidies to federal exchanges too.
Several groups are challenging the extension of subsides to federal exchanges. Two judges have separately ruled that their case could go forward. The Justice Dept. had argued that the courts should not hear the cases because the plaintiffs had no standing.
If the judges rule that subsidies are not available for federal exchanges, few people will sign up because coverage would be unaffordable without subsidy. Family plans will cost $20,000 a year in 2016, according to the IRS. Good luck with that.
If Americans cannot receive subsidies for health care in the federal exchanges, then there will be no individual mandate in the 34 states that refused to create exchanges. People who do not want to be forced to buy health insurance or insurance that conforms to government standards could move to states without exchanges. Businesses that do not want to provide health insurance could set up operations in those states.
The text of the Affordable Care Act states that people who buy health insurance from state exchanges get subsidies if they earn under 400 percent of the poverty line, currently $94,000 for a family of four. Most applicants will qualify for some subsidy.
A different section of the Act (Section 1321) allows the federal government to set up exchanges in states that have not done so. But nowhere does the law say that people on these federal exchanges can receive tax subsidies.
The individual mandate was a constitutional question. The question of subsidies is one of statutory construction.
The consequences of the judges’ decisions will go to the heart of entitlement spending. The question is this: Does the executive branch, via an IRS ruling, have the right to expand an entitlement to cover an additional two-thirds of American states?
If so, then the executive branch also has the right to expand or shrink other entitlements by definition, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare.
The executive branch is once again grabbing power that up until now has been in the hands of Congress. If the courts allow the federal exchange subsidies to stand— where will the power grab end?
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Democrat Corruption, Capitalism, Law, Election 2014 | Tags: A Lawless Administration, ObamaCare Exceptions, Union Law is Different
Sometimes you just have to scratch your head and wonder what the hell? Democrats indignantly claim that ObamaCare is “settled law.” Unchangeable, Supreme Court certification, law of the land — stop trying to defund, repeal, oppose, criticize — it’s over, done, settled. So why does Obama keep illegally changing the settled law? He’s the President of the United States — who is going to stop him?
He’s postponing, conveniently, the employer mandate until after the 2014 election when Republicans hope to gain control of the Senate and Democrats hope to win back the House. Why? Because when the employer mandate takes effect many people who have health care policies they like— can’t keep the policies they like, because something will have changed. And that might change their vote. Most employers are not stupid enough to include the over-generous grab-basket of unwanted benefits that consist of approved ObamaCare policies. And a change will force employees on the exchanges.
Obama decided it was inconvenient to have members of Congress and their staffs have to participate in ObamaCare in the same way that the great unwashed rest of us do. I guess he’ll keep illegally changing the “settled law” until he gets it right.
According to a report from kaiserhealthnews.org “weeks after denying labor’s request to give union members access to health-law subsidies, the Obama administration is signaling it intends to exempt some union plans from one of the law’s substantial taxes,” reads the report.
Buried in rules issued last week is the disclosure that the administration will propose exempting “certain self-insured, self-administered plans” from the law’s temporary reinsurance fee in 2015 and 2016.
That’s a description that applies to many Taft-Hartley union plans acting as their own insurance company and claims processor, said Edward Fensholt, a senior vice president at Lockton Cos., a large insurance broker.
Insurance companies and self-insured employers that hire outside claims administrators would still be liable for the fee, which starts at $63 per insurance plan member next year and is projected to raise $25 billion over three years.
This is pure Chicago politics brought to the nation’s capitol. We fund you, you do us favors if you want us to continue the funding. The fee “takes money from the pockets of each laborer covered by a health and welfare fund and gives it to for-profit insurance companies” said Terry O’Sullivan president of the Laborers International Union of North America in a letter to President Obama. Goodness, insurance companies expect to make a profit?
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy, Foreign Policy, Health Care, Immigration, Law, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, The Constitution | Tags: Great Expectations, Shattered Dreams, Squandered Opportunity
February 14, 2008: “The choice in this election is not between regions or religions or gender” he says in that beautiful baritone of his. “It’s not about rich versus poor, young versus old. And it’s not about black versus white.” What voters are really choosing he says is between the past and the future. The future to which he refers, of course, is him. He will take Americans to a color-blind, rational, humanist place where a common good will overpower narrow self-interest. This moves Obama’s fans close to rapture. CNS News
“President Obama has done and continues to do major damage to America. The only question is whether this can ever be undone.” Dennis Praeger
February 5, 2008: “We are the hope of the future; the answer to the cynics who tell us our house must stand divided; that we cannot come together; that we cannot remake this world as it should be.
Because we know what we have seen and what we believe— that what began as a whisper has now swelled to a chorus that cannot be ignored; that will not be deterred; that will reign out across this land as a hymn that will heal this nation, repair this world, and make this time different than all the rest— Yes. We. Can.”
What does it take to warn Americans about unchecked pension growth,
socialized medicine, vast increases in entitlements, higher taxes and
steady expansion of of government? In other words, what is it about
Detroit, Italy or Greece that we do not understand?
Victor Davis Hanson
January 28, 2008: “If you know who you are, who you’re fighting for, what your values are, you can afford to reach out to people across the aisle. If you start off with an agreeable manner, you might be able to pick off a few folks, recruit some independents into the fold, recruit even some Republicans into the fold. If you’ve got the votes, you will beat them and do it with a smile on your face.” It was a summons to reasonableness, yet Obama made it sound thrilling. “False hopes? There’s no such thing. This country was built on hope,” he cried. “We don’t need leaders to tell us what we can’t do—we need leaders to inspire us. Some are thinking about our constraints, and others are thinking about limitless possibility.
Obama spoke for only twenty-five minutes and took no questions; he had figured out how to leave an audience at the peak of its emotion, craving more. As he was ending, I walked outside and found five hundred people standing on the sidewalk and the front steps of the opera house, listening to his last words in silence, as if news of victory in the Pacific were coming over the loudspeakers. I couldn’t recall a single thing that he had said, and the speech dissolved into pure feeling , which stayed with me for days.” George Packer, New Yorker
June 8, 2008: “Obama is a LightWorker — an Attuned Being with Powerful Luminosity and High-Vibration Integrity who will actually help usher in a New Way of Being. …The appeal, the pull, the ethereal and magical thing that seems to enthrall millions of people from all over the world, that keeps opening up and firing into new channels of the culture normally completely unaffected by politics?
No, it’s not merely his youthful vigor, or handsomeness, or even inspiring rhetoric. It is not fresh ideas or cool charisma or the fact that a black president will be historic and revolutionary in about a thousand different ways. It is something more. Even Bill Clinton with all his effortless winking charm, didn’t have what Obama has, which is a sort of powerful luminosity, a unique high vibration integrity.” Mark Mortford, San Francisco Chronicle
Unprecedented levels of debt —$6.5 trillion in 5 years.
More citizens receive aid— means-tested— than work full time.
Saddling the next generation with enormous debt.
Stymied medical innovation.
IRS used to stymie political opponents and sway election.
Made U.S, weak. Drop to 17th in economic freedom.
Escalated racial tensions. Divided Americans by class.
Allies do not trust Obama administration.
Ignores Constitution. Takes law into own hands.
Ordering Dream Act that Congress rejected.
Impeding economy with red tape and uncertainty.
Keystone XL Pipeline jobs ignored.
Benghazi. Libya. Syria. Ignores separation of powers. Lack of leadership.
Evicting World War II vets from their monument.
Rules of engagement killing our troops in Afghanistan.
“Discretionary” attacks on other countries on ‘humanitarian’ grounds.
Stimulus. Auto bailout. Solyndra. Green jobs.
Weakest economic recovery in history.
Most partisan administration ever. The ObamaCare rollout.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Law, Politics, Progressivism, The United States | Tags: ObamaCare Toll-Free Number, Operator Earline Davis, Sean Hannity
When Obama spoke Monday about the
catastrophic failure “glitch” in the rollout of the Healthcare.gov website, Obama said that there wasn’t only one way to sign up, you could call this toll-free number and somebody there would help you to sign up. As it turned out, the people at that toll-free number have to use the same program as the one at Healthcare.gov to sign you up, but they can answer questions.
Sean Hannity, on the air, thought he would try out that number to see if it worked. The ObamaCare operator was Earline Davis, who was nice as she could be. Hannity asked her how well it was going, and how well the law was being received by people who were applying, and she revealed that no one liked it. So they fired her from her job.
Hannity interviewed her again, after her dismissal, and that conversation is here.
HANNITY: And what was the specific reason? When they sat you down, did they give you a specific reason?
DAVIS: They said that no contact with the media. No type of media whatsoever. We’re not allowed to do that at that company.
HANNITY: Meaning, in other words, they didn’t tell you before you were hired, they didn’t tell you during your training, but then they told you after the fact that you aren’t allowed to be on the media if somebody called in. It’s not your fault I called.
Hannity is being responsible, and giving her a year’s salary and help to find her a new job. No one is suggesting that Obama himself was involved in the firing, but there is apparently a climate in which the president will not be mocked or criticized, and those who do will be punished. I remember the rodeo clown who was not only fired for wearing an Obama mask, but told he could never work in the rodeo circuit again.
Filed under: Conservatism, Domestic Policy, Freedom, Law, Liberalism, Politics, The Constitution | Tags: A Constitutional Amendment, Congress Should Not Be Immune, Everybody No Exceptions
Rand Paul is pushing for a new Constitutional amendment stating:
Congress shall make no law applicable
to a citizen of the United States
that is not equally applicable to Congress.
The amendment also contains two provisions that apply that same principle to the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch of the federal government, according to a press release put out by the office of the Kentucky senator on Monday.
I suspect the voters would go for this — big time. Getting it through Congress might be something else entirely. Congressmen Salmon and DeSantis proposed a similar idea in the House of Representatives last August. One would assume that the Founders would be horrified to discover the extent to which our elected officials have exempted themselves from provisions they are happy to stick us with. Might make them think twice about some of the laws they devise.