Breaking: Harry Reid Corruption Behind Nevada Standoff

 

Dear Conservative,

Yesterday, we were greeted with excellent news. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other federal agencies have decided to stop seizing Clive Bundy’s cattle in Bunkerville, Nevada.

As I wrote yesterday, the BLM has been rounding up Bundy’s cattle to pay for the $1.1 Million of “grazing fees“ the government claims is owed. The purpose of these fees? To dissuade farmers and ranchers from using this PUBLIC land that also happens to be occupied by the endangered Desert Tortoise.

The BLM, in concert with other federal agencies, planned to sell Bundy’s cattle in order to pay his debt.

Well, yesterday, over 300 brave patriots showed up to the ranch off of I-15 in Nevada. The protesters and self-described militiamen showed up on horseback and carrying weapons ready to defend Clive Bundy and his family from what was a clear example of tyrannical government overreach. Armed protesters stood up against the government thugs, and the federal government blinked, showing restraint for once and staving off another potential “Waco” incident.

News broke yesterday that while the whole crisis, on paper, was over a turtle, there are other corporate interests at play, looking to gain access to the region’s water and mineral rights and other natural resources. And as usual, when an individual’s rights are being trampled for gain, the scandal goes all the way to the top and Sen. Harry Reid is at the center of it!

Tell Congress it must put an end to this cronyism and STOP Harry Reid’s corrupt Nevada land grab!

So here are the specifics. Evidence suggests that Harry Reid was using the BLM to bully ranchers like Clive Bundy off of the land in order to open the door for foreign investment and development.

The Director of the Bureau of Land Management, Neil Kornze, is a former Reid staffer. The allegation is that Harry Reid has been conspiring with the BLM for years to evict Bundy’s “trespass cattle” to open the door for Chinese investment and development of a solar farm.

Prior to this crisis, the BLM website explained that Clive Bundy’s “trespass cattle” were directly impeding on development in the region.

“Non-governmental organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle,” the purged document says.

The BLM has been trying to create a large solar farm in Nevada and BLM Technical Note 444 shows that not only do Bundy’s cattle graze on this land, but Bundy’s property is also within the targeted area!

Back in 2012, it was reported that Harry Reid’s son Rory was the primary representative for ENN Energy Group, a Chinese company seeking to build a $5 Billion solar plant in Nevada.

So now we have a situation where Harry Reid’s son and former staffer may have been coordinating to evict an American rancher in order to open the door to Chinese investment. Harry Reid has denied participating in the deal, however multiple news organizations, including Reuters, have confirmed that Senator Harry Reid was influential in pushing for the deal! This is cronyism, plain and simple! To have the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate conspiring with a foreign company to displace a hard-working American rancher is atrocious!

Tell Congress it must put an end to this nonsense and STOP Harry Reid’s Nevada land grab!

The American dream is under threat. Not because Americans are no longer working hard… We are working harder than ever to provide for our families. Yet, at every step of the way, the federal government tries to slap us down and restrict our upward mobility.

The allegations that Harry Reid is behind trying to put an American rancher out of business in order to line his pockets should infuriate you! The BLM used an endangered tortoise as an excuse to round up Clive Bundy’s cattle and kick him off public land. Before this crisis, the Bureau of Land Management was actually euthanizing the turtleson the land because they were too expensive to maintain! However, when the land became valuable to the solar industry, then the BLM used the technicality to try to evict Clive Bundy and seize his cattle! Instead of preserving the land as the agency claims, the Reid family is conspiring with a foreign company to develop the land for their profit!

This level of corruption is absolutely despicable! How many other government actions are fueled by congressmen and senators just trying to line their pockets? How many other examples of government tyranny and overreach are just manifestations of congressional greed?

This must end and Harry Reid must be held accountable for this! For the Majority Leader of the Senate to conspire with the Executive branch and a foreign company to put an American rancher out of business is UNACCEPTABLE!

Tell Congress it must put an end to this nonsense and STOP Harry Reid’s Nevada land grab!

Sincerely,

Joe Otto

Conservative Daily

Source: http://www.conservative-daily.com/2014/04/13/breaking-harry-reid-corruption-behind-nevada-standoff/

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Waco Siege vs Bundy Ranch: That Was Then, This Is Now!

Many of us are old enough to remember watching in horror as the US government, using US military equipment, surrounded a group of Americans in Waco, Texas, with SWAT teams, helicopters, armored vehicles, and even a tank. Then watching as that compound burned to the ground, knowing that there were innocent women and children losing their lives right before our eyes. Most of us desperately wanted to believe that their actions were justified, that there was some perfectly legitimate reason why those innocents died. Then the facts started to come out and the terrible truth was revealed.  That’s the day that so many of us came to the awful realization that these things can happen in America, and that our government is capable of such atrocities. And many vowed back then, Never Again. Never again would we sit back and do nothing while our own government surrounded and laid siege to American citizens.

Fast forward to the latest siege, this time the Bundy Ranch. Once again Americans were surrounded by their own government. Armed federal agents came pouring in to Nevada. But this time, their actions wouldn’t go unanswered. Americans responded by the hundreds, and traveled to Nevada to ensure the government force didn’t result in yet another government sanctioned massacre. The government did everything it could to keep the facts from getting out, even shutting down cell towers in the area, setting up an official “free speech” area, and attacking peaceful protestors.

And we won! Federal agents have left the area in defeat, surrendering to both the public outcry and the presence of fellow Americans standing watch over and recording their actions. UK’s Daily Mail Online has done amazing coverage of the entire siege, including many great photos of everyday Americans taking a stand. It will make you want to stand and cheer!

Take notice federal government! We’ve learned our lessons well. We’ve never forgotten the innocent blood that was needlessly shed in Waco, Texas. Now it’s time for you to learn your lesson.. Your days of unanswered armed aggression against US citizens are over.

http://www.westernfreepress.com/2014/04/14/waco-siege-vs-bundy-ranch-that-was-then-this-is-now/

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Why Clive Bundy isn’t WRONG.

There have been a lot of people criticizing Clive Bundy because he did not pay his grazing fees for 20 years. The public is also probably wondering why so many other cowboys are supporting Mr. Bundy even though they paid their fees and Clive did not. What you people probably do not realize is that on every rancher’s grazing permit it says the following: “You are authorized to make grazing use of the lands, under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management and covered by this grazing permit, upon your acceptance of the terms and conditions of this grazing permit and payment of grazing fees when due.” The “mandatory” terms and conditions go on to list the allotment, the number and kind of livestock to be grazed, when the permit begins and ends, the number of active or suspended AUMs (animal units per month), etc. The terms and conditions also list specific requirements such as where salt or mineral supplements can be located, maximum allowable use of forage levels (40% of annual growth), etc., and include a lot more stringent policies that must be adhered to. Every rancher must sign this “contract” agreeing to abide by the TERMS AND CONDITIONS before he or she can make payment. In the early 90s, the BLM went on a frenzy and drastically cut almost every rancher’s permit because of this desert tortoise issue, even though all of us ranchers knew that cow and desert tortoise had co-existed for a hundred+ years. As an example, a family friend had his permit cut by 90%. For those of you who are non ranchers, that would be equated to getting your paycheck cut 90%. In 1976 there were approximately 52 ranching permittees in this area of Nevada. Presently, there are 3. Most of these people lost their livelihoods because of the actions of the BLM. Clive Bundy was one of these people who received extremely unfair and unreasonable TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Keep in mind that Mr. Bundy was required to sign this contract before he was allowed to pay. Had Clive signed on the dotted line, he would have, in essence, signed his very livelihood away. And so Mr. Bundy took a stand, not only for himself, but for all of us. He refused to be destroyed by a tyrannical federal entity and to have his American liberties and freedoms taken away. Also keep in mind that all ranchers financially paid dearly for the forage rights those permits allow – - not rights to the land, but rights to use the forage that grows on that land. Many of these AUMS are water based, meaning that the rancher also has a vested right (state owned, not federal) to the waters that adjoin the lands and allow the livestock to drink. These water rights were also purchased at a great price. If a rancher cannot show beneficial use of the water (he must have the appropriate number of livestock that drinks and uses that water), then he loses that water right. Usually water rights and forage rights go hand in hand. Contrary to what the BLM is telling you, they NEVER compensate a rancher for the AUMs they take away. Most times, they tell ranchers that their AUMS are “suspended,” but not removed. Unfortunately, my family has thousands of “suspended” AUMs that will probably never be returned. And so, even though these ranchers throughout the course of a hundred years invested thousands(and perhaps millions) of dollars and sacrificed along the way to obtain these rights through purchase from others, at a whim the government can take everything away with the stroke of a pen. This is the very thing that Clive Bundy single-handedly took a stand against. Thank you, Clive, from a rancher who considers you a hero.

-Kena Lytle Gloeckner

https://www.facebook.com/ModernRevolution

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Report: Obama Administration Creates False Issue to Target Israel

There is a clandestine plan by the Obama administration to pin the blame for the failure of peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians on Israel, according to a recent report from the Washington Free Beacon. 

The Washington Free Beacon reported:

Senior State Department officials based in Israel have sought to lay the groundwork for Israel to take the blame for talks collapsing by peddling a narrative to the Israeli press claiming that the Palestinians were outraged over Israeli settlements.  These administration officials have planted several stories in Israeli and U.S. newspapers blaming Israel for the collapse of peace talks and have additionally provided reporters with anonymous quotes slamming the Israeli government.

The website added that insiders believe the person responsible for the underhanded tactics is Middle East envoy Martin Indyk, and that the unseen media campaign allowed Secretary of State John Kerry to castigate Israel before Congress.

One senior official at a Pro-Israel organization said:

The Palestinians didn’t even know they were supposed to be abandoning negotiations because of these housing permits, which are actually old, reissued permits for areas everyone assumes will end up on the Israelis’ side of the border anyway.

He continued by stating, “Then Martin Indyk started telling anyone who would listen that in fact the Palestinians were angry over the housing issue. Eventually, the Palestinians figured out it was in their interest to echo what the Americans were saying.”

Indyk was the U.S. Ambassador to Israel under Bill Clinton. The source stated, “I’ve seen this before and see his fingerprints,” adding that there was a rumor floating in the news recently that the new Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer was failing to perform his job effectively.

A former diplomat commented, “It’s certainly in Indyk’s interest now [to undermine the Israelis], but this was a game he also used to play when he was ambassador twice.” He added that “this is part of Indyk’s playbook. There was only one person who would do this kind of thing and it’s Martin Indyk and his staff.”

Another source said Kerry is hostile to Netanyahu:

It’s one of the worst-kept secrets in Jerusalem that Kerry’s team leaks anti-Netanyahu quotes and claims to the Israeli press—not that it should be a mystery why Israeli reporters based in Israel keep producing anti-Bibi quotes from “American officials.”

He went on to offer this thought: “But just imagine the outrage if the roles were reversed and Bibi had a team on the ground in D.C. trashing Obama to the Washington Post on background.”

The senior official said that the settlements were generally accepted to be part of Israel under any agreement, and they were not an issue until Indyk made them such as the Palestinians were preparing to pull out of talks. He stated, “When talks fell apart and the State Department needed a scapegoat, of course they chose Israel, except they picked the dumbest explanation imaginable.”

The Obama administration cunningly used an Israeli announcement that there would be 700 apartments built in the Jerusalem suburb of Gilo to foment trouble for Israel, an announcement that only confirmed an earlier statement that had not provoked conflict. But Gilo is widely recognized as part of Israel.

Even Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg said in 2009 that Gilo was not an issue, when he wrote:

The building of apartments in Gilo is irrelevant to eventual disposition of Jerusalem because everyone—the Americans, the Palestinians, and the Israelis—knows that Gilo, the suburb that is the latest source of tension between Washington and Jerusalem, will undoubtedly end up in Israel as part of a negotiated solution (not that that’s ever happening, by the way.) It doesn’t matter, then, if the Israelis build 900 housing units in Gilo or 900 skyscrapers: Gilo will be kept by Israel.

The New York Times asserted on Tuesday that Gilo had “seemed a much less provocative issue,” even for the Palestinians.

Morris Amitay, former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), noting the reports that Indyk had “raced to Jerusalem” to save the peace talks, said of the Gilo issue, “To say that’s what ruined the peace process shows a complete lack of understanding on how long they’ve [the Israelis, Palestinians, and the Americans] been peace processing. … The fact Kerry is leaving it up to him [Indyk] is a sign they’ve had to give up.”

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/04/10/Obama-Administration-Creates-False-Issue-to-Target-Israel

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The Tipping Point? Freedom v. Socialism in Nevada

As the stand off in Nevada continues, can this become the tipping point in the war between Freedom and Socialism?

Militias ‘mobilizing’ to support embattled Clark County rancher in clash with federal rangers

From near and wide, (legally …OM) armed men are trickling toward Cliven Bundy’s ranch, where the rancher’s fight with the federal government has become a rallying cry for militia groups across the United States.

On Wednesday, that dispute teetered at the edge of deadly conflict, when Cliven Bundy’s family members and supporters scuffled with rangers from the Bureau of Land Management sent to protect the federal roundup of Bundy’s cattle on public land (“Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes [page 26-27]”  and “Extension of the public domain to take over mines, quarries, oil wells, forests, and water power“…OM ).

One of Bundy’s seven sons was shot with a stun gun, and Bundy’s sister was knocked to the ground (Where is the cry of police brutality or is that reserved for race baiters like Sharpton & Jackson…OM); but no one was seriously hurt, and no arrests were made.

By late Wednesday, three militia members — two from Montana and one from Utah — had arrived at the ranch 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Other militia groups have inundated the Bundy household with calls and pledges to muster at the site. Their stated goal: to protect the Bundys from tyranny (Unfortunately, the tyranny began long ago, Footnote 1 …OM).

They say they are prepared for armed confrontation, but they insist they will not be the instigators if bloodshed happens.

Ryan Payne and Jim Lardy, members of the West Mountain Rangers, made the 12-hour drive from western Montana on Tuesday night. Payne is also a coordinator with Operation Mutual Aid, a national association that describes itself as a coalition of state militias.

“They all tell me they are in the process of mobilizing as we speak,” Payne said.

He didn’t put a specific estimate on how many militia members may come, but he said the groups expected are from places like New Hampshire, Texas and Florida and could number in the hundreds.

“We need to be the barrier between the oppressed and the tyrants,” he said. “Expect to see a band of soldiers.”

Payne, 30, and Lardy, 49, both wore holstered handguns as they spoke, but they downplayed the display of firepower. They wear their weapons daily. (2nd Amendment to the Constitution and a God given Right…OM)

They say the goals are for no one to be harmed, the Bundy family to be protected, and the Bundy property restored.

For now, the militia members will camp on the Bundy ranch. They say the issue isn’t about cattle or grazing rights; it’s about constitutional rights. (Where in the Constitution is the Federal government allowed to take STATE land without paying for it just protect a tortoise…OM)

“We’re not anti-government,” said Lardy, who cuts firewood for a living. “We’re anti-corrupt government.”

Stephen Dean, 45, an artist from Utah, said he made the trip in hopes of heading off another Ruby Ridge or Waco, referring to deadly confrontations involving federal agents in Idaho in 1992 and in Texas in 1993.

A member of the People’s United Mobile Armed Services, Dean said he also carries weapons more powerful than his firearms: a camera and the Internet. Those tools will document the plight of the Bundy ranch and bring the issue to light, he said. “I’m here to see it does happen differently.”

Serious bloodshed was narrowly avoided earlier in the day, when a BLM ranger shot Ammon Bundy, a son of Cliven Bundy, with a stun gun during a heated confrontation a few miles from the ranch house.

A YouTube video shows protesters and law enforcement officers yelling and threatening each other as trucks involved in the roundup attempt to drive through. The officers have stun guns drawn, and one is trying to push the crowd back with a barking dog on a leash.

Cheryl Teerlink, said Ammon Bundy was hit by a stun gun in his arm, chest and neck, but he shook off the first attempt to incapacitate him. “I pulled the tasers out of him,” Teerlink said.

Shortly before that, Cliven Bundy’s sister, Margaret Houston, was thrown to the ground by a BLM officer, Teerlink said.

The incident unfolded near the intersection of Gold Butte Road and state Route 170, where protesters gathered after they saw BLM vehicles coming down from the range.

The Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service released a statement confirming that one protester had been stunned. The agencies said the incident started when “a BLM truck driven by a non-law enforcement civilian employee assisting with gather operations was struck by a protester on an ATV, and the truck’s exit from the area was blocked by a group of individuals who gathered around the vehicle.”

According to the statement, peaceful protests have “crossed into illegal activity” in recent days, with people “blocking vehicles associated with the gather, impeding cattle movement, and making direct and overt threats to government employees.”

“These isolated actions that have jeopardized the safety of individuals have been responded to with appropriate law enforcement actions,” it said.

Federal law enforcement officers, also heavily armed, are providing tight security to contract cowboys from Utah who were hired by the government for almost $1 million to round up as many as 900 cattle that Bundy has left to roam on federal land despite not paying grazing fees for the past 20 years.

Two federal court orders issued within the past year called for the rancher’s livestock to be impounded from a vast swath of mountains and desert. That roundup began Saturday on almost 600,000 acres closed to the public during the operation.

As of Wednesday, 352 animals had been rounded up.

Gov. Brian Sandoval on Tuesday slammed the BLM for creating an “atmosphere of intimidation” and called on the agency to dismantle two “First Amendment areas” it set up for demonstrators well away from any roundup activity. (Where in the Constitution say that we, the PEOPLE, can have free speech only in designated “zones” on “Public” lands…OM)

The former federal judge said he told the agency “that such conduct is offensive to me and countless others.”

“No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans,” the Republican governor said.

On Wednesday morning, before news broke of the scuffle between protesters and the BLM, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., sent a statement expressing “great disappointment with the way that this situation is being handled.”

Heller said he spoke to newly confirmed BLM director Neil Kornze and “told him very clearly that law-abiding Nevadans must not be penalized by an over-reaching BLM.”

“After hearing from local officials and residents, and receiving feedback from the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association in a meeting this morning, I remain extremely concerned about the size of this closure and disruptions with access to roads, water and electrical infrastructure,” Heller said. “I will continue to closely monitor this situation (Ever hear of the 10th Amendment Senator?..OM), and urge the BLM to make the necessary changes in order to preserve Nevadans’ constitutional rights.”

Kornze is a Nevada native who spent eight years as a senior policy adviser for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid before joining the BLM.

Reached for comment before Wednesday’s altercation between rangers and demonstrators, spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said: “Senator Reid hopes the trespassing cattle are rounded up safely so the issue can be resolved.” (Cattle can trespass?…OM)

 

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Palin Warns Holder on Gun Bracelets: ‘You Don’t Want to Go There, Buddy’

After Attorney General Eric Holder revealed that he was considering forcing gun owners to wear identifying bracelets, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin harshly warned him that he better not even think about trying to implement the idea.

 

Editors Note: Eric Holder is opining and whining about how he and his boss Obama are being treated [a obvious use of the RACE CARD]. Crying that he and Obama are somehow being subjected to scrutiny and criticism that past President’s and A.G.’s haven’t been. Past Presidents and  A.G.’s haven’t cherry picked the laws Congress has passed choosing only those that they agree with. If Holder, Obama and the democrats really try to push and enact these “Gun Bracelets” the uproar and open resistance will be such as this Nation has never seen before. The cry “Molon Labe!!!” is being heard across the country and more and more police official’s and officers  have stated they will not enforce unconstitutional laws. These Seditioners should carefully consider if they really want to open that can of worms because sitting next to it is a can of whoop ass. [TS]

 

“Eric, ‘You don’t want to go there, buddy,’” she declared on Wednesday.

 

Palin posted a photo (see below) of the three bracelets she often wears and explained the significance of each:

 

Hey Eric, these are my identifying bracelets:

One honors our military;

One honors independent Americans who have a healthy distrust of Washington’s permanent political class and who will fight against elitists hell-bent on fundamentally transforming the USA;

And one celebrates the year 1791 – that glorious year our Bill of Rights came to be, with the cross and bones symbol representing our Founders’ “Death to Tyranny” commitment, and on each side you’ll see symbols of my faith. Complete with Swarovski crystals, I might add.”


“Eric, you can replace my identifying bracelets with your government marker when you pry them off my cold, dead wrists,” Palin then added. 

Photo: Attorney General Eric Holder thinks government should force gun owners to wear special “identifying” bracelets?<br />
Hey Eric, these are my identifying bracelets:<br />
One honors our military;<br />
One honors independent Americans who have a healthy distrust of Washington's permanent political class and who will fight against elitists hell-bent on fundamentally transforming the USA;<br />
And one celebrates the year 1791 – that glorious year our Bill of Rights came to be, with the cross and bones symbol representing our Founders’

 

 

 

On Friday, Holder told a House Committee that he was exploring the idea of gun bracelets.

 

 

 

“I think that one of the things that we learned when we were trying to get passed those common sense reforms last year, Vice President Biden and I had a meeting with a group of technology people and we talked about how guns can be made more safe,” Holder said. “By making them either through finger print identification, the gun talks to a bracelet or something that you might wear, how guns can be used only by the person who is lawfully in possession of the weapon.”

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/04/09/Palin-Warns-Holder-on-Gun-Bracelets-You-Don-t-Want-to-Go-There-Buddy

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53 US Senators Voted AGAINST The UN Gun Confiscation – 46 Senators Sold Us Out

 

 

The U.N. Resolution 2117 lists 21 points dealing with firearms control, but perhaps of most interest is point number 11: “CALLS FOR MEMBER STATES TO SUPPORT WEAPONS COLLECTION, DISARMAMENT —”
HOORAY – 53-46 vote – The U.S. Senate voted against the U.N. resolution.
This is that brief, glorious moment in history
when everyone stands around…reloading.
Now, Which 46 Senators Voted to Destroy Us? Well, let their names become known !! See below . If you vote in one of the states listed with these 46 “legis..traitors”… vote against them.
In a 53-46 vote, the Senate narrowly passed a measure that will stop the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.  The Statement of Purpose from the Bill reads:  “To uphold Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.”  The U.N. Small Arms Treaty, which has been championed by the Obama Administration, would have effectively placed a global ban on the import and export of small firearms.  The ban would have affected all private gun owners in the U.S. and had language that would have implemented an international gun registry, now get this, on all private guns and ammo.
Astonishingly, 46 out of our 100 United States Senators were willing to give away our Constitutional rights to a foreign power.
Here are the 46 senators who voted to give your rights to the U.N.
Baldwin (D-WI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bennett (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Coons (D-DE
Cowan (D-MA)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Harkin(D-IA)
Hirono (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)
46 Senators Voted to Give your 2nd Amendment Constitutional Rights to the U.N.
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No remains found in search of Tarawa battlefield

Their bloody battle for Tarawa  won, a column of U.S. Marines marches to a pier to board ships while those staying behind to garrison the island stand by

Their bloody battle for Tarawa won, a column of U.S. Marines marches to a pier to board ships while those staying behind to garrison the island stand by their guns in December 1943. (Associated Press)

 

The lost Marines of Tarawa still are missing.

A recent expedition to a tiny South Pacific atoll where a fierce World War II battle was fought — conducted in part using the research of a Morgan Hill man — did not uncover remains of U.S. servicemen.

But the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) is planning to return before the end of the year, and this time the agency has invited Bill Niven to accompany the mission to ensure that searchers excavate precisely where he believes Marines were buried nearly 70 years ago.

“The key is they need to dig exactly where I tell them to dig,” Niven said. “It’s frustrating because I don’t think they did that this last time out there.”

This trip further underscores the difficulty of locating long-lost remains on the small, densely populated island of Betio where, in November of 1943, about 1,110 Americans died in a 76-hour battle against Japanese forces. JPAC, which is in charge of accounting for the more than 83,000 service members listed as missing since World War II, now has searched for the 560 unaccounted-for Marines five times since 2009.

“We’re all disappointed that we didn’t find any remains,” said Johnie Webb, JPAC’s deputy to the commander for external relations and legislative affairs. “But we’re still optimistic that Bill has good information, and we’re going to continue to search in the areas that he has suggested.”

Niven, who was profiled by this newspaper in August, is a veteran of the Marine Corps Reserve and former airline pilot who has been studying the Tarawa battlefield for more than 20 years. Niven believes he has identified four unmarked burial sites with 98 Marines on Betio, an island in what was then known as the Tarawa atoll and today is part of the Republic of Kiribati.

JPAC workers scoured the island, located 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, in September, and Niven said he was under the impression that the focus would be on two locations he had identified, containing what he claims are 73 Marines — including a Medal of Honor recipient.

But the search was wide-ranging, using not only Niven’s information, but that of a Florida-based group called History Flight and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Niven said he’s not convinced the team excavated where he had directed, or if they looked diligently enough.

“I’m frustrated because they’re still not looking at my sites,” he added.

It appears JPAC may agree. Niven said he has been asked to conduct a seminar for JPAC’s “diggers” at the agency’s Hawaii-based headquarters and also to go Tarawa on the upcoming expedition, perhaps in November.

Webb said this last mission was hurried because of the then-impending partial federal government shutdown. The team had to be back in Hawaii before the Oct. 1 shutdown deadline. That only added to the challenges of finding buried servicemen who died in one of the most well-known engagements in Marine Corps history.

Sprawled bodies on the beach of Tarawa atoll testify to the ferocity of the battle for this stretch of sand during the U.S. invasion of the Gilbert

Sprawled bodies on the beach of Tarawa atoll testify to the ferocity of the battle for this stretch of sand during the U.S. invasion of the Gilbert Islands, in late November 1943. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

“The complexity of trying to recover Marines and Navy personnel lost on Tarawa is amazing,” Webb said. “There are just so many unanswered questions. Some of them never reached shore and might have been lost at sea. The geography has changed and now you now have a huge population on a small piece of ground. And then you have decades of activity and locals maybe finding remains and then disposing of them.”

Niven, a history buff who has based his research on archival materials and old photographs of the battlefield, said he is not opposed to accompanying the next search. But he is concerned about being away from his two small businesses for an extended period of time.

Still, he added, “We need to be finding those kids.”

JPAC has been under intense political scrutiny in recent months for not doing a better job of locating missing servicemen around the world. Finding Marines on Tarawa would go a long way to easing some of that pressure.

“It’s important for people to know that while we might not have recovered remains this time, we’re not going to give up,” Webb said. “Bill is not going to give up. And we’re going to keep working to bring those Marines home.”

Editor’s Note: All Patriots need to contact their Senators and Representatives to, as we say in the Corps, “Light a fire” under JPAC’s collective ass and get them to bring these heroes home. 

Thank you and Semper Fi to Lt.Col. Miller (@usmc1940) who proudly served in the US #MARINES on Iceland (41), Guadalcanal (42-43), Tarawa (43) and Saipan (44) for bringing this to our attention.

Source: Mark Emmons (Twitter.com/markedwinemmons) at http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_24371484/no-remains-found-search-south-pacific-battlefield

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Let American Oil Be Free

In the April issue of Townhall Magazine, HotAir’s Erika Johnsen explains why the ban on crude oil exports was useless in the 1970s, and is actively harmful today.

 

The United States’ shale revolution came almost out of nowhere.

 

In the space of just a few short years, innovations in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have made it economically viable to tap vast oil and gas reserves locked in tight shale formations that were previously thought unrecoverable. These advances have ushered the U.S. into a new era of energy abundance that few experts were expecting (especially not the “peak oil” scaremongers, according to whom we should have now run out of oil supplies several times over).

 

Energy companies are clamoring to take advantage of this newfound boom, which they could do much more efficiently if they were not beholden to backwards, reactionary, protectionist-minded regulations like the reigning ban on exports of domestically produced crude oil.

 

Back in the 1970s, when violence was raging across the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries enacted an embargo blocking exports to the United States. The move sent shockwaves throughout the global economy.

In 1975, as gasoline prices were quadrupling and “energy independence” became the national vogue, Congress responded by banning most exports of crude oil. The ban was intended to address these temporary conditions and enhance the United States’ energy security. But particularly in the context of today’s exploding energy supplies, the ban makes absolutely zero sense.

 

According to federal data, we pumped an average of 7.5 million barrels of crude per day in 2013, up from 6.5 million barrels in 2012, making 2013 the year of the biggest acceleration in U.S. oil production, ever. We are on track to shortly surpass our all-time high production record, and we have more of the stuff than we know what to do with, literally.

 

Over the past decade, U.S. oil refineries invested tens of billions of dollars optimizing their plants based on the assumption that their crude oil supplies would be increasingly dependent on the heavier, more sour types of crude we typically import from Canada, Mexico, the Middle East, and elsewhere.

 

Our domestically produced crude is usually of the lighter, sweeter variety that our refining capacity is largely unequipped to handle, and even factoring in transportation costs, it still makes more sense for refineries to import these heavy crudes. That means that, if we continue to disallow exports of our own crude oil, we are facing artificially depressed crude prices and a massive glut in which our own rising production levels will be of little economic benefit.

We have so far managed to accommodate our oil boom by rapidly expanding our refinery, pipeline, and railroad capabilities, as well as exporting more oil to Canada (pretty much the only country to which our current crude-export ban does not apply), but there is only so much production growth the stopgap expansion of our infrastructure can absorb before we hit the limits of our self-restricted market.

 

Fortunately, this fact has not gone unnoticed in Congress, and some lawmakers have begun to address the problem. Unfortunately, this is likely to be a drawn-out battle with certain anti-free trade mercantilists from both sides of the aisle pushing the populist canard of “energy independence.”

 

Their biggest concern, they argue, is the effect that allowing crude oil to leave America’s shores will have on consumers’ gasoline and diesel prices. But in that case, these lawmakers should really be calling for full steam ahead on lifting the ban.

 

The prices we pay at the pump are already largely determined by oil prices on the global market, with a few regional factors mixed in. Because American refiners are allowed to ship gasoline and other refined products abroad (and it does not take much processing for a product to qualify for the regulatory definition of “refined”), lower domestic crude prices do not automatically translate into savings for American consumers.

Effectively, the crude oil export ban actually amounts to a subsidy for refiners, who are currently exporting products at record levels. By allowing crude oil exports, Congress would enable not only refiners but also producers to take advantage of higher worldwide prices.

 

The hoarding, protectionist mentality currently threatening to confine our domestic oil production is not doing us any favors, and sending our crude out into the global market would help to lower world oil prices and enhance our own energy security by diluting OPEC’s market share and price power. The federal government selectively choosing which industries and products can and cannot enjoy the benefits of free trade, in any scenario, is nothing more than another means of artificially manipulating free-market signals and dishing out another form of special treatment at the direct expense of more robust economic growth.

 

The Obama administration has at least hinted that the time is ripe to reexamine the merits of the ban, but if they want to accomplish President Obama’s own longstanding economic goal of increasing U.S. exports, they need to start actually doing something to convince lawmakers to get on board. •

Source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/conncarroll/2014/04/07/let-american-oil-be-free-n1817699

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Veteran Suspended from CT College for Asking Governor Questions About New Anti-Gun Laws

Connecticut patriots continue their fight to preserve their Second Amendment rights amidst a slate of new anti-gun laws enacted in the immediate aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook, one man is fighting his own battle to merely stay in school after he asked his governor tough questions at a public forum.

According to the Daily Caller:
A Connecticut community college suspended a student veteran for his aggressive questioning of Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy during a public forum, prompting a First Amendment advocacy group to condemn the college for its flagrant disrespect for free speech and due process.
The student, Nicholas Saucier, tried to get Malloy to answer questions about his support for gun control legislation, which has put Saucier’s ammunition manufacturing business in jeopardy. Saucier followed Malloy to his car after the governor finished speaking at a public forum at Asnuntuck Community College. The exchange took place in October of last year, and was captured on video.
Shortly thereafter, Saucier received notice from the administration that he was suspended on grounds that his “continued presence on campus would present a danger to the persons, property and/or academic process of the College.”
The student was officially charged with engaging in harassment and showing disrespect for Malloy, in violation of ACC’s student code. Administrators claimed that Saucier became increasingly hostile, called Malloy a “fucking snake,” and reached into his pocket for something that could have been a weapon. (It was actually a video recording device.)
The college attempted to persuade Saucier to plead guilty to the charges and undergo counseling. He refused, opting instead for a formal hearing. At the hearing, administrators refused to let him play his recorded video, which he argued would acquit him by showing that he did nothing wrong. Saucier was found guilty of all charges. His suspension was lifted, but any further trouble from him and he will be expelled, administrators said.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has accused ACC of violating Saucier’s free speech and due process rights by disciplining him for speaking his mind and subjecting him to a sham trial.
“ACC’s myriad violations of Nicholas Saucier’s rights, effective rewriting of its conduct procedures, and failure to rectify its errors should give all Americans great concern,” said Peter Bonilla, director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, in a statement.
The move by Asnuntuck Community College is not entirely surprising as academia as a whole has been hijacked by the radical left. However, colleges and universities were once dedicated to the promotion of free thinking and the free exchange of ideas; it would seem that asking tough questions would fit directly within the context of higher learning.
Saucier’s actions are not only acceptable, but are nearly a requirement of good citizenry. Asking our elected officials questions regarding their support for policies that affect us all is not only a right, but a responsibility of all who wish to engage in the democratic process.

http://www.tpnn.com/2014/04/04/veteran-suspended-from-ct-college-for-asking-governor-questions-about-new-anti-gun-laws/

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Sources on ground during Benghazi attack slam ex-CIA boss Morell’s testimony

 

Sources on the ground in Benghazi during the 2012 terror attack are pushing back hard on former CIA acting director Mike Morell’s testimony on Capitol Hill, where he defended his role in shaping the administration’s narrative and claimed politics were not involved.

As part of Morell’s testimony on Wednesday, the former acting and deputy CIA director acknowledged that he overruled the guidance of the top CIA officer in Libya at the time. That official told Morell the attack was not an “escalation of protests,” but Morell said he had to weigh that against analysts who concluded the opposite. He ultimately went with the analysts — whose assessment later turned out to be flawed — saying the chief of station’s report was not “compelling” and was based on loose evidence.

The account has many close to this investigation fuming. One operator watching the hearing told Fox News: “He doesn’t have any idea what happened that night. Why is he speculating? He wouldn’t have to speculate if he talked to the people in Libya that night, or others who were watching.” 

Another said Morell either still has no idea what happened that night, or he is covering for someone. “Human intelligence takes precedence over everything else and he had no better intelligence than multiple reports from credible sources coming from the ground that night,” one operator said.

Morell rejected accusations that he downplayed the role of terrorists in editing the so-called “talking points,” which formed the basis of then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s faulty claim that the attack sprung from a protest. He testified that he believed the attack was both a terror attack and a protest.

While Morell would not say how many Americans were in Benghazi that night, he did say that “many more lives would have been lost” if CIA security officers and members of the military hadn’t responded.

That, too, elicited criticism from the field. Multiple sources have said they could have responded sooner, while others still feel their requests to respond were ignored, and they haven’t been given a reason why. “People aren’t going to forget, people in our community are dealing with this … on a daily basis and their lives are still at risk,” one contractor said.

Fox News has previously reported that intelligence on the ground within the first 20 minutes was consistent that a terror attack was underway. Yet in Wednesday’s testimony, Morell said analysts didn’t know for sure and the only way he knew Al Qaeda was involved was through classified sources — and that’s why it was taken out of the talking points. But later in the testimony, Morell said he did not take out Al Qaeda from talking points, and that a group of “officers” from another CIA department did.

But one intelligence expert with close knowledge of the attack questioned those claims. “To pretend he was deferring to analytical judgment is not true,” the source said. “He changed analytical judgment. … Heck, that’s in the Senate Intelligence Report.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., alleged during the hearing that Morell’s testimony directly contradicted that of the chief of station, who testified on Tuesday behind closed doors due to his classified status.

Also in the hearing, Morell deflected questions about why the CIA has yet to conduct its own investigation despite more than one internal complaint filed by CIA employees about the response to the attack that night.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., had a testy back and forth on the subject, saying at one point: “There are four dead — murdered — Americans. I would think when the CIA’s own personnel file complaints, the OIG should follow up and do an investigation.”

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/04/02/sources-on-ground-during-benghazi-attack-slam-ex-cia-boss-morells-testimony/

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All May Not be Lost with Obamacare

During Obama’s victory lap yesterday he made the statement that should have sent chills up every patriots spine. As he touted the questionable 7.1 million enrollment numbers (Numbers from a RAND Corporation study that has been kept under wraps suggest that barely 858,000 previously uninsured Americans – nowhere near 7.1 million – have paid for new policies and joined the ranks of the insured by Monday night.) he said,”…ObamaCare is here to stay…”. But is it?

Obamacare Subsidies Face Skeptical Appeals Court Judges

The Obama administration’s claim that its health-care overhaul allows financial aid to people who buy insurance through a federal exchange met skepticism from U.S. appeals court judges who suggested the law doesn’t provide for such subsidies.

The government’s argument that the court should look to Congress’s intent on the subsidies — rather than at gaps in the statute opponents say make the payments illegal — fell flat with U.S. Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph.

What you’ve got is language that’s not malleable,” Randolph said March 25 during a hearing in Washington. “An exchange established by the state” means “an exchange that’s established by the federal government?”

The dispute over whether federally funded discounts can be available to people using the federal exchange strikes at the financial heart of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

With 36 states opting not to set up the marketplaces, many of the 17 million individuals eligible for assistance must rely on the federal marketplace to buy subsidized insurance.

If that’s lost, “it would mean that the effort to expand insurance coverage in the vast majority of the states would pretty much be halted,” according to Ron Pollack, executive director of the advocacy group Families USA.

 Last Challenge

“It’s the last legal challenge that could derail this law,” Christopher Condeluci, who was on the Republican staff of the Senate Finance Committee when it crafted portions of the act, said before the hearing.

The challengers in today’s arguments contend the law says tax credits to help pay for insurance can only be dispensed through state exchanges.

Justice Department lawyer Stuart Delery, arguing for the government, said a broader reading makes clear that Congress meant to offer financial assistance to users of both state and federal exchanges.

U.S. Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith, nominated by Republican President George W. Bush, said a lack of “clear legislative history” made it hard to determine what Congress intended.

Michael Carvin, an attorney for the plaintiffs, who are individuals and business owners from six states that declined to set up exchanges, urged the judges to look at what lawmakers wrote and not “psychoanalyze” what they thought.

State Carrot

The language restricting subsidies to state exchanges was a carrot to persuade states to set them up, Carvin said.

U.S. Circuit Judge Harry Edwards told Carvin,“Your argument makes no sense.” Adding that he found no evidence that Congress sought to use the subsidies as an inducement, he said, “Who cares who set up the exchanges?”

The suit is an attempt to undermine the entire health-care law, said Edwards, appointed by Democratic President Jimmy Carter. “That’s what this case is about — to gut the statute,” he said.

Randolph, an appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush, appeared ready to do just that.

He described the law as “Janus-faced” and confusing.

“If the legislation is just stupid, I don’t see that it’s up to the court to save it,” Randolph said.

Parsing the language of the Affordable Care Act, Delery said the law directed the federal government to establish “such exchange,” not “an exchange,” meaning that Congress wanted it to have the attributes of a state marketplace. (Maybe Congress Critters should have read the bill before they shove it down America’s throat…OM)

Griffith asked Delery whether that was the sum of his argument.

Tax Credits

No, said Delery. From other portions of the law, it’s clear that Congress intended that “federal exchanges would be providing tax credits,” he argued.

Condeluci, the former Senate staffer, said much of the case against subsidies for federal exchange shoppers originates in “a drafting error” that left out references in key parts of the law to its section 1321. That section authorizes the federal government to establish a national marketplace.

“The four digits aren’t there, so should the court try to read into congressional intent that 1321 was supposed to be there?” said Condeluci, now a lawyer at Venable LLP. “Yes. That was the intent.” (Intent??? Its a written law, no intent allowed…OM)

‘Same Function’

When Delery argued that a federal exchange “provides the same function” as a state marketplace, Randolph replied “that is a leap, that is not an interpretation.”

So far, arguments against the delivery of tax credits through federal exchanges haven’t found traction in courts.

In Richmond, Virginia, U.S. District Judge James Spencer, an appointee of Republican PresidentRonald Reagan, found no support in the legislative history of the Obamacare law for the idea Congress intended to condition federal funds on state participation. His Feb. 18 dismissal of the case is on appeal.

Two other cases are pending in federal court in Indiana and Oklahoma.

In Washington, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman, an appointee of Democratic President Bill Clinton, said there’s more than one reasonable way to interpret the challenged phrase “exchange established by the state” when it’s read in isolation. Taking a broader view, it’s clear Congress intended to make the subsidies available on both state and federal exchanges, he ruled on Jan. 15.

Friedman’s decision set up today’s arguments.

The case is Halbig v. Sebelius, 14-5018, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia(Washington). The Virginia case is King v. Sebelius, 13-cv-630, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, (Richmond).

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-25/obamacare-subsidies-seen-as-illegal-on-state-exchanges.html

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Obama’s War on Coal

 

Editors Note: Obama and the Liberal Democrats with the support of Radical Environmental Groups are using the EPA as a weapon against the Coal Industry in the same way Obama has and is using the IRS as a weapon against Conservatives. Obama and his obsession with Green Energy is fulfilling his promise to destroy the Coal Industry in America. An underlying motive would seem to be Obama’s desire to reduce America to 3rd world status by his incessant war on Americas Fossil Fuel Reserves. [TS]

President Obama promised to send electricity prices skyrocketing, and his minions at the EPA are delivering on that promise. Americans for Tax Reform’s Chris Prandoni takes a detailed look at how Obama is using the power of the regulatory state to wipe out the coal industry.

Campaigning in San Francisco, California, in 2008, then-Senator Obama promised to send electricity costs “skyrocketing” by making life difficult for coal power plants. Since assuming office, President Obama has made good on that promise by methodically dismantling America’s coal industry.

Using the Environmental Protection Agency as its primary means of assault, the Obama administration has undermined every phase of the coal production process. This president doesn’t want Americans to mine coal, transport coal, or export coal. And they definitely do not want utilities burning it so you can turn on your lights.

At first blush, it might seem like these policies only affect the small mining towns in Western Kentucky or the South Carolina factory workers that make excavation equipment. But the implications of Obama’s War on Coal are far reaching: 300 of America’s coal plants will close due to EPA policies by 2025. That’s 44,000 megawatts of generating capacity in 33 states gone. Electricity rates will “necessarily skyrocket” and grid stability may be threatened. Most troubling, these dramatic changes to American energy policy are being implemented by lawyers and unelected bureaucrats in federal agencies. Congress has passed no new laws ordering Americans to consume less coal. In fact, the last time Democrats tried to legislate these anti-energy policies they were run out of town.

The Failed Legislative Front
When Obama assumed office in 2009, many feared that legislation designed to increase your electricity bills and gasoline prices was inevitable. Democrats had a huge majority in the House and a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate. The White House, and even the 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain had endorsed a cap-and-trade program. Democrats calculated that a McCain-endorsed cap-and-trade style program represented their best chance to inflate the cost of energy; of course, such legislation was sold under different, false pretenses.

After carving out provisions for essential industries, thus gaining their support or silence, Democrats thought they had a bill that could become law. On May 15, 2009, months of negotiating and legislative bribery culminated with the introduction of the American Clean Energy and Security Act by Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA). On June 26, 2009, ACES passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 219 to 212.

Passage of ACES put enormous pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to get the legislation out of the upper chamber and onto Obama’s desk. But then a funny thing happened, the 111th Congress came and went without the Senate voting on the House-passed ACES. Despite overseeing an astounding Democrat majority, Reid didn’t even have enough votes to bring the bill to the floor.

On November 6, 2010, the American people let Congress know what they thought about Washington D.C. trying to pick their pockets. Of the 19 freshman Democrats who voted for the Waxman-Markey legislation, 12 were sent packing. All in all, a total of 41 Democrats who voted for the bill lost their seat or retired. West Virginia Senate Democratic candidate Joe Manchin even ran a television ad where he literally shot the Waxman-Markey legislation and told viewers “I’ll take dead aim at the Cap and Trade Bill.” Candidate Manchin would go on to win his race as would 63 new House Republicans. The people had spoken; efficient, reliable energy was a voting issue. Politicians that embraced artificial scarcity and expensive electricity bills would be punished.

The Bureaucrats Strike Back
Days after President Obama’s agenda took a self-admitted “shellacking,” he revealed his intent to continue to push restrictive energy policies, saying “cap-and-trade was just one way to skin the cat. It’s not the only way.” Indeed, if Congress was not willing to drive up the cost of energy and unemployment rates, the EPA would. Following the president’s lead, this seemingly innocuous agency has been busy the past five years, amassing unprecedented powers through political maneuvering, increased regulation, and usurpation of congressional powers. And while many businesses have felt the weight of the EPA, none have been squeezed quite like America’s coal industry.

Front One: The War on Mining
In order for coal developers to begin extracting coal out of the ground, they are required to obtain a number of federal and state permits. One requisite authorization is the Clean Water Act’s 404(c) permit, which is officially granted by the Army Corps of Engineers but still requires EPA approval. Without this permit, miners cannot mine, construction workers cannot construct, and businesses cannot create jobs.

Mining is a complicated, expensive industry that requires years of preparation and investment. In the 1990s, Arch Coal identified a massive coal deposit in West Virginia, the Spruce Mine site. Officially beginning the burdensome permitting process, Arch received its first mining permit in 1998. Millions of dollars later, Arch received its 404(c) permit in 2007 and began mining. Then the Obama administration came to town and flexed its muscles by revoking Arch’s 404(c) permit. Never before had the EPA retroactively pulled a permit from a project in operation. In fact, in the past 40 years, it has only used its veto authority 12 times. But these are different times.

Arch immediately challenged the unprecedented move in court and won the support of a federal district court judge that wrote, “[EPA] exceeded its authority under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act when it attempted to invalidate an existing permit by withdrawing the specification of certain areas as disposal sites.” Unfortunately, an appeals court sided with the EPA and wrote that the Clean Water Act “empowers [the EPA Administrator] to prohibit, restrict or withdraw the specification ‘whenever’ he makes a determination that the statutory ‘unacceptable adverse effect’ will result.”

Arch Coal and a number of other parties have petitioned the Supreme Court to take up this case. The outcome of this court battle is of paramount importance. Allowing the EPA to pull the rug out from any mining project, at any point during the production process, would freeze investment. What reasonable businessman would be willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars procuring mineral rights, commissioning expensive geological studies, and go through the permitting process just to have the EPA swoop in and kill the project after production has begun?

Even scarier, this seemingly narrow assault on one mining project is not narrow at all. Nearly every construction project requires a 404(c) permit and 60,000 404(c) permits are issued annually.

Front Two: War on Exports
If coal producers can get coal out of the ground without EPA meddling, other Democrat interests are trying their best to ensure that miners cannot sell their product overseas. This is a shame because the U.S. has the largest coal repository in the world. More than one-fourth of the world’s economically recoverable coal reserves are located here in America.

This abundance has historically meant big profits for Americans. In 2011, coal exports contributed an estimated 141,270 jobs to the U.S. economy with more than 107 million tons being sent abroad to Europe and developing countries. Needing to fuel their growing economies, China and India are planning to build hundreds of new coal-fired power plants over the next 50 years. In order to supply this enormous expansion abroad, American companies have applied to build four coal export terminals in the states of Washington and Oregon.

You would think the governors of Washington and Oregon would cheer export terminals that provide jobs, not only onsite, but for coal miners whose livelihood depends on finding a market for coal. But no, in a joint letter to the White House Council on Environment and Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Govs. Jay Inslee and John Kitzhaber (both Democrats) all but urged the White House to deny the export terminals requisite permits.

“It is hard to conceive that the federal government would ignore the inevitable consequences of coal leasing and coal export,” Kitzhaber and Inslee wrote. “We believe the decisions to continue and expand coal leasing from federal lands and authorize the export of that coal are likely to lead to long- term investments in coal generation in Asia, with air quality and climate impacts in the United States that dwarf those of almost any other action the federal government could take in the foreseeable future.”

Kitzhaber and Inslee are asking for new, never before considered material to be used as an excuse to kill coal export sites. If coal producers are not allowed to export coal, and utilities are not allowed to burn it, then mining it is fruitless, which is exactly what leftists want.

Front Three: War on Burning Coal
In order to really stifle American coal consumption, the EPA has to make sure that the American people cannot use it to power their homes. The genesis of the EPA’s recent power grab stems from a 2007 Supreme Court decision, Massachusetts v EPA. The suit against EPA, brought by several liberal state attorneys general and radical environmental activists including GreenPeace and Friends of the Earth, was intended to classify greenhouse gases emitted from vehicles as pollutants.

That these state attorneys general were so openly working with radicalized interest groups did raise some eyebrows, but nonetheless, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision ordering the EPA to determine whether motor vehicles are covered under Section 202 of the Clean Air Act. Much like pushing over the first domino in a long line, categorizing greenhouse gases as pollutants would catalyze a series of disastrous actions.

On the heels of the Supreme Court decision, the EPA released the infamous “endangerment finding” in December of 2009. Using now thoroughly questionable scientific justification, the EPA declared that carbon dioxide, yes, the stuff you exhale, was a pollutant. Once the EPA ruled that CO2 and other GHGs endangered the public’s health and welfare, carbon was subject to numerous controls under the Clean Air Act. Now compelled to regulate GHGs, the EPA would unleash a torrent of new regulations.

EPA’s Lawless Rewrite
Everything from factories to hospitals to restaurants to elementary schools all emit enough CO2 to be considered a “major source” of the gas under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V permit programs. The EPA is now required by law to regulate nearly everything. If this sounds untenable, it’s because it is. In order to enforce the EPA’s new findings, the EPA said it would need an additional $21 billion per year and hire 320,000 more bureaucrats. Instead, the EPA unilaterally redefined legal statute and directly amended the Clean Air Act by only regulating certain emission sources.

The EPA’s decision to avoid this self-made bureaucratic nightmare is referred to as the “tailoring rule.” The tailoring rule reveals the EPA’s hubris. Congress has the authority to amend laws, not the EPA. Imagine if every federal agency, staffed with political appointees, began tinkering with federal laws?

Simply put, the tailoring rule is indicative of the EPA’s selective enforcement of laws. When a law supports the EPA’s agenda, like regulating greenhouse gases, the agency enforces it to the fullest extent. But when a law, or in this case, a portion of a law, inconveniently undermines or hamstring the agency’s goals, it is immediately discarded. Impelled by radical environmentalist litigation, the EPA’s numerous advances led the agency to control and regulate greenhouse gases in America, authority Congress never intended the EPA to have.

Regulations for New Coal Plants
Now with the supposed authority to regulate carbon, the EPA promptly banned the construction of new coal-fired power plants by requiring them to implement carbon capture and storage technology. The EPA pushed forward with this rule despite the administration’s own interagency task force saying that CCS technologies “are not ready for widespread implementation.” And that is exactly the point. If the EPA is to stop construction of new coal-fired power plants, the agency had to write regulations that “are not ready for widespread implementation.”

The EPA’s new technology mandate is so untenable that there is currently no full-scale coal-fired power plant operating with CCS anywhere in the world. That’s because the capital costs of installing CCS are enormous, at least $1 billion.

While three CCS projects have been proposed in the U.S., only one is under construction. The anomaly that is the Kemper County, Mississippi CCS coal-fired power plant is proceeding due to a confluence of unique circumstances.

Taking some of the sting out of the enormous cost of CCS, the Department of Energy gave the plant a $270 million grant. The plant is also eligible for an additional $133 million in federal tax credits. The economics of the Kemper County CCS plant is predicated on the facility’s ability to sell its carbon emissions credits to a nearby oil production site. The other two CCS projects “under development” in the United States, should they actually be built, would each receive more than $400 million in federal grants and also sell their carbon emission credits to fertilizer producers. The EPA extrapolated on one coal plant, which is only viable because of federal grants and extraordinary geological circumstances, and is requiring all new coal-fired power plants to meet these standards.

The EPA is currently writing more GHG regulations for coal-fired power plants already in operation. It is likely that this regulation, expected later this year, will force even more coal plants to turn off the lights. Speaking about these regulations, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, “It’s just the latest administration salvo in its never ending War on Coal. A war against the very people who provide power and energy for our country.”

Stepping up to the plate, McConnell has introduced a parliamentary tactic known as the Congressional Review Act to overturn the EPA’s GHG regulation for new power plants. The best part about the CRA is that Reid cannot block a vote on the floor, as he so often does. McConnell has ensured that the American people will know if their senator is for reliable, affordable electricity, or if they take their orders from the EPA.

Unfortunately, even if McConnell’s resolution is successful, it will require a Republican Senate and control of the White House to begin to roll back the damage done by Obama’s bureaucrats. The plight of the coal industry is symptomatic of the effects of an out-of-control regulatory state: lawyers and unelected bureaucrats by and large run the country. In 2008, when Obama was first running for president, he candidly announced that under his administration “if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.” Much to the detriment of the American people, President Obama has made good on that promise.

Source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/conncarroll/2014/04/01/obamas-war-on-coal-n1817140

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The Web of Lies Unraveling about Benghazi

CIA officer confirmed no protests before misleading Benghazi account given

Information on ground rejects protest account

Before the Obama administration gave an inaccurate narrative on national television that the Benghazi attacks grew from an anti-American protest, the CIA’s station chief in Libya pointedly told his superiors in Washington that no such demonstration occurred, documents and interviews with current and former intelligence officials show.

The attack was “not an escalation of protests,” the station chief wrote to then-Deputy CIA Director Michael J. Morell in an email dated Sept. 15, 2012 — a full day before the White House sent Susan E. Rice to several Sunday talk shows to disseminate talking points claiming that the Benghazi attack began as a protest over an anti-Islam video.

That the talking points used by Mrs. Rice, who was then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, were written by a CIA that ignored the assessment by its own station chief inside Libya (As well as the travel warning ISSUED be State Department on July 18, 2012 http://rebuildingfreedom.org/2012/10/12/and-we-were-told-al-qaida-was-weak/ …OM) , has emerged as one of the major bones of contention in the more than two years of political fireworks and congressional investigations into the Benghazi attack.

What has never been made public is whether Mr. Morell and others at the CIA explicitly shared the station chief’s assessment with the White House or State Department.

Two former intelligence officials have told The Washington Times that this question likely will be answered at a Wednesday hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence during which Mr. Morell is scheduled to give his public testimony.

Mr. Morell, who has since left the CIA, declined to comment on the matter Monday. He now works at Beacon Global Strategies, a Washington insider strategic communications firm.

One former intelligence official close to Mr. Morell told The Times on the condition of anonymity that “the whole question of communication with the station chief will be addressed in his testimony.”

“We’re confident that it will clarify the situation in the minds of many who are asking,” the former official said.

Another former intelligence official told The Times that Mr. Morell did tell the White House and the State Department that the CIA station chief in Libya had concluded that there was no protest but senior Obama administration and CIA officials in Washington ignored the assessment.

 

Why they ignored it remains a topic of heated debate within the wider intelligence community.

A third source told The Times on Monday that Mr. Morell and other CIA officials in Washington were weighing several pieces of “conflicting information” streaming in about the Benghazi attack as the talking points were being crafted.

“That’s why they ultimately came up with the analysis that they did,” the source said. “The piece that was coming out of Tripoli was important, but it was one piece amid several streams of information.”

One of the former intelligence officials said the Libya station chief’s assessment was being weighed against media reports from the ground in Benghazi that quoted witnesses as saying there had been a protest. Analysts at the CIA, the source said, also were weighing it against reporting by other intelligence divisions, including the National Security Agency.

“The chief of station in Tripoli who was 600 or 700 miles away from the attacks wouldn’t necessarily have the only view of what actually went on in Benghazi,” that former official said.

U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack.

While the testimony is expected to focus on Benghazi, the hearing arrives at a time of growing tensions between Congress and the CIA over such matters as the Bush administration’s interrogation rules and mutual charges of spying and illegality between the Senate intelligence committee and the agency.

Lawmakers are likely to press Mr. Morell for a reaction to reports this week that a classified Senate intelligence report has concluded that harsh interrogation methods used in the years after Sept. 11 provided no key evidence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and that the CIA misled Congress on the matter.

The CIA disputes that conclusion. The Senate panel is expected to vote Thursday on sending the Obama administration a 400-page executive summary of the “enhanced interrogation” report to start a monthslong declassification process.

One of the key issues likely to come up during the House hearing involves what was said during a series of secure teleconferences between CIA officials in Washington and Libya from the time of the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, to the completion of Mrs. Rice’s talking points for dissemination on the Sunday talk shows Sept. 16.

Multiple sources confirmed to The Times on Monday that the station chief’s email to Mr. Morell was written after one of the teleconferences during which senior CIA officials in Washington — Mr. Morell among them — made clear to the Tripoli station chief that they were examining alternative information that suggested there was a protest before the attack.

After the exchange, Mr. Morell signed off on the CIA talking points given to Mrs. Rice promoting what turned out to be the false narrative of a protest. The development ultimately triggered an angry reaction from Republicans, who have long claimed that the Obama administration, with an eye on the November elections, was downplaying the role of terrorists in order to protect the president’s record on counterterrorism.

Documents since released by the White House show that administration officials boasted in internal emails at the time about Mr. Morell’s personal role in editing and rewriting the talking points.

“Morell noted that these points were not good and he had taken a heavy editing hand to them,” an Obama administration official wrote Mrs. Rice on the morning of Sept. 15.

What is not clear is whether the email was in any way referring to the conflicting intelligence streams about a protest in Benghazi.

Alternatively, the email notes that Mr. Morell was uncomfortable with an initial draft of the talking points batted back and forth between White House and CIA officials “because they seemed to encourage the reader to infer incorrectly that the CIA had warned about a specific attack” in Benghazi.

During interviews with The Times, several former senior intelligence officials have lamented the whole “talking points” issue, saying the CIA was caught in the middle of the White House, Congress and the reality on the ground in Benghazi while crafting the points.

The reason the CIA ended up taking the lead on the talking points was because, as news of the attack was breaking around the world, lawmakers on the House intelligence committee were seeking guidance from the agency on how to respond to media questions without revealing classified information.

Specifically, Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and the committee chairman, and ranking Democrat C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland asked for the guidance.

One former senior intelligence official told The Times that as word circulated through the inner circles of the intelligence community that the CIA was working on the talking points, officials within the Obama administration steered the mission toward crafting something Mrs. Rice could say on national talk shows.

“In essence, the talking points got repurposed,” the former official said. “What it turned into — and I don’t think Michael ever knew this, it’s something to watch for in his testimony this week — was, ‘Let’s hand this thing to the U.N. ambassador and make it what she should say.’”

“That’s a big deal,” the former official said. “It’s one thing to prepare something for lawmakers so they don’t make a mistake or say something inacurrate. It’s quite another matter to have that feed the administration’s then-current, definitive account of what had actually happened in Benghazi.”

“There are a lot of twists and turns in this,” added another former intelligence official. “A lot of it hangs on the fact that the agency thought they were crafting these talking points for Dutch Ruppersberger and Mike Rogers, not the White House.”

More Information on Benghazi can be found at http://rebuildingfreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Benghazi-Report.pdf and http://rebuildingfreedom.org/information/benghazi-the-cloud-over-the-white-house/

Source: Guy Taylor at  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/31/cia-ignored-station-chief-in-libya-when-creating-t/#ixzz2xc7HeWgq

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March 29th~Vietnam Veterans Day

                WELCOME HOME !!!

 

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California senator charged with arms smuggling has ties to Muslim terrorists and local gangsters

Democratic California state Sen. Leeland Yee probably likes to sing Garth Brooks’ classic honky-tonk tune “Friends in Low Places” judging by his choice of buddies. Yee was arrested Wednesday in a massive federal sting trying to sell rocket launchers and missiles from a radical Muslim group in the Philippines to an undercover FBI agent in exchange for campaign funds.

Yee and his campaign staffers accepted nearly $43,000 in bribe money from federal agents to get them in contact with individuals who could procure weapons for them. The weapons, which included shoulder-fired missiles, were estimated to cost from $500,000 to $2.5 million and were supposed to come from a Muslim separatist group in the Philippines that is currently engaged in an ongoing conflict with the established government of their country. Yee is alleged to have set up the deal in exchange for campaign donations.

According to The Daily Mail, Yee had strong ties to local San Francisco gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, who was also arrested in the federal sting. Chow is alleged to have strong ties to a Hong Kong criminal syndicate and is considered a major figure in San Fran’s Chinatown community.

Chow, Yee and 23 other individuals were arrested in raids on Wednesday in Sacramento and San Francisco. Another one of the charged suspects includes a former school board president who was a prominent donor for previous Yee campaigns.

Yee announced Thursday that he is no longer running to become California’s next Secretary of State in the wake of the charges pending against him.

Despite the charges of arms smuggling and campaign corruption, Yee is renown for authoring strong gun control legislation and has been heavily promoting campaign finance reform.

It’s not clear if any of his proposals covered dealing shoulder-fired missiles from Islamic radicals in exchange for campaign donations.

He’s not the only prominent Democrat in hot water over corruption charges. The mayor of Charlotte N.C., Patrick Cannon, resigned Wednesday after he was slammed with federal corruption charges after allegedly accepting a $48,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent.
Read more:  http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/27/pro-gun-control-senator-charged-with-arms-smuggling-in-the-philippines/#ixzz2xN6L86hE

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In new row, Israel at odds with US over visas

With the United States irked at Israel over its settlement policies and the lack of progress in peace talks, an obscure diplomatic classification has emerged as a new sticking point between the two close allies.

To ease the travel of its citizens, Israel is pressing to join 38 other countries in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program – a prestigious club of nations whose citizens don’t need a preapproved visa to visit America. So far, their efforts have not only been rebuffed, but Israel has seen a spike in the number of young people and military officers rejected entry to the U.S.

Washington says Israel has not been let into the program simply because it has not met the requirements – and has pointed in part to Israel’s treatment of Arab-American travelers, drawing sharp denials by Israeli officials of any discrimination. U.S. officials say there is no policy in place to make it more difficult for Israelis to get “B” visas, which allow a 90-day stay in the United States for business or travel purposes.

Figures show that the percentage of Israelis whose visa requests are rejected is lower than that of many other countries, and other countries’ rejection rates have grown as well amid an overall stricter approach taken by American Homeland Security officials. For example, in 2013 Belarus had a rejected rate of 20.7 percent, Bulgaria’s was 19.9 percent and Ireland’s was 16.9 percent.

Even so, Israel saw its visa rejection rate jumped to 9.7 percent last year, up from 5.4 percent the year before – a startling 80 percent increase.

Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, has called on the State Department to “end its widespread, arbitrary practice of denying young Israelis tourist visas.” Other pro-Israel members of Congress have also pressed for answers. Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin said some Congress members are pushing for legislation that would exempt Israel from the requirements to qualify for the waiver program altogether.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded this week by saying that Israelis are still overwhelmingly granted entry.

“Over 90 percent of Israeli applicants for tourist visas to the United States are approved. For young Israelis, over 80 percent of visa applicants are approved for a visa,” she said at a briefing.

The 90-day visas are either approved or rejected after a brief interview with a U.S. embassy official in the applicant’s country of origin. Americans do not need a visa to enter Israel, though Americans of Palestinian origin often face problems and cannot enter through Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, instead entering either through Jordan or Egypt.

The visa issue brings another irritant in U.S.-Israeli ties at a time of strains over Secretary of State John Kerry’s stagnating peace efforts. The Obama administration has been critical of Israel for continuing to press forward with Jewish settlements in the West Bank while Kerry has been brokering peace talks over a future Palestinian state.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon recently called Kerry “obsessive” and “messianic” over making peace between Israelis and Palestinians and dismissed a U.S. security plan for the region as worthless. He also called the U.S. weak when it comes to its stance on Iran’s nuclear program and questioned Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security.

During the same briefing last week, Psaki said the U.S. was disappointed that Yaalon has yet to apologize for his “offensive” remarks. (Why should he apologize?…OM)

Among younger Israelis, the visa issue has put a damper on plans for a post-army trip to America, a common rite of passage after completing three or more years of compulsory military service. For this demographic, the American concern appears to be less a matter of security and rather a fear that they will abuse their tourist visas to work illegally and peddle products at malls.

Yoav Rosenbaum, 23, said he had no such intention. He and three friends just wanted to go on a 10-day trip to the New York area to see a comedy festival. But even though he holds down a hi-tech job, rents an apartment in Tel Aviv and lived in the U.S for the three years when he was younger, he was immediately rejected at the American embassy.

“I brought documents, showed my return flight and the tickets to the festival, paid the fee and the guy just looked at me and said ‘it’s not going to happen,’” he recalled, saying the official told him he didn’t have enough ties to Israel to be trusted to return. “I wasn’t that shocked because I knew that they give a hard time to people of my age group.”

It hasn’t stopped dozens of others from lining up outside the American embassy in Tel Aviv to seek visas on a daily basis.

For the Israeli government, the larger issue is membership in the Visa Waiver Program.

As one of America’s closest allies, Israel wonders why countries like Slovakia, Iceland and Latvia qualify while they are left out.

U.S. diplomats say it is merely a matter of countries meeting stringent conditions, such as issuing biometric passports, properly reporting lost or stolen documents and allowing the free access of Americans into their country.

Psaki said American authorities “remain concerned with the unequal treatment that Palestinian Americans and other Americans of Middle Eastern origin experience at Israel’s border and checkpoints, and reciprocity is the most basic condition of the Visa Waiver Program.”

Elkin, the Israeli deputy foreign minister, rejected long-standing accusations that Arabs were unnecessarily targeted with aggressive questioning, long luggage examinations and strip searches, saying that U.S. Homeland Security had just as tough techniques for people – including Israelis – of Middle Eastern descent.

He told The Associated Press that Israel had addressed all matters under its control to be able to qualify for the program. He said it will now allow Palestinian-Americans to begin entering the country through the airport.

The only obstacle remaining was the rate of Israelis rejected for U.S. visas, which needs to drop below 3 percent before Israel can be considered for the program.

“That depends on the Americans. If they wanted, a creative solution could be found,” Elkin said. “Israel is among the friendliest countries to the U.S. and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be part of the program.”

Source: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/25100402/in-new-row-israel-at-odds-with-us-over-visas#ixzz2xIgTpKJy

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Heritage Study: EPA Rules Will Cost 600,000 Jobs, Hit GDP by $2.2T

Editors Note: One promise Obama has actually kept has been his attack on Americas Fossil Fuels Production. Remember when he was speaking about reducing Americas dependency on fossil fuels and new EPA regulations concerning their use for electrical production he stated that ” If someone want’s to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted” Obama has also stated that “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” As has been seen in the past and currently being pursued is Obama pushing “Green Power” that as of yet is to inefficient and to costly to be a replacement for power produced with fossil fuels. While huge amounts of tax dollars is being wasted on companies such as Solyndra and others Obama continues to restrict development of Americas vast energy reserves. Obama has and continues to use the EPA to further his Climate Change initiatives. Obama’s obsession with green energy will not only bankrupt energy producers but America itself. [TS]

“If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
Read more at http://deneenborelli.com/2014/01/epas-new-power-plant-rules-proves-obamas-war-coal/#vAgHrgGWlmCGfWyL.99
“If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
Read more at http://deneenborelli.com/2014/01/epas-new-power-plant-rules-proves-obamas-war-coal/#vAgHrgGWlmCGfWyL.99
“If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
Read more at http://deneenborelli.com/2014/01/epas-new-power-plant-rules-proves-obamas-war-coal/#vAgHrgGWlmCGfWyL.99

 

Two recent studies detail how rules on greenhouse gas emissions can have deep — and negative — economic consequences.

An analysis by the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., said new Environmental Protection Agency rules are likely to cost the United States an estimated 600,000 jobs and a $2.23 trillion hit to the GDP by the year 2023.

The gloomy report notes that families will also share in the costs as coal production continues to fall off, power plants close, and energy prices rise.

“If you look at what the EPA is doing, they are essentially promulgating and implementing rules and regulations that will drive out our coal production by prohibiting the construction of new coal-fired power plants and forcing the existing ones into an early retirement,” said Nicolas Loris, an economist and senior policy analyst in energy, environment, and regulatory issues, who completed the study for Heritage.

“When you take such affordably reliable sources of energy offline, it’s going to squeeze both production and consumption in our economy and it’s going to create a rise in prices,” Loris told Newsmax. “American families will be hit repeatedly, not just with those higher energy costs but also through higher prices for goods and services because businesses will incur these costs as well and pass them on to consumers.”

The EPA plans to finalize new greenhouse gas emissions standards for existing coal plants sometime this year, with standards for new plants expected in June.

Meanwhile, National Economic Research Associates is warning against a new emissions plan drawn up by a national environmental group that it fears will become the basis for EPA regulations.

NERA said a Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) proposal “has received attention as an approach EPA might follow to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants.”

But the NRDC plan “could cost consumers $13 billion to $17 billion per year in higher electricity and natural gas prices,” NERA said.

“Ratepayers in most states could face double-digit electricity price increases” and the plan would cause “job losses totaling as high as 2.85 million between 2018 and 2033,” NERA said.

While the president has been clear that the coal industry is in his crosshairs, it is not simply coal-producing states like West Virginia and Kentucky that will be hit hard.

Manufacturing states like Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois will also feel the pain, Heritage reported.

Breaking the economic impact down by districts, 19 of the 20 hardest hit are located in the Midwest, according to the study.

James M. Van Nostrand, who heads West Virginia University’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, said the economic impact from the proposed regulations is real and will hurt certain regions of the nation the hardest.

Van Nostrand, a professor of law at WVU, says regulations are likely to come in waves, first hitting the coal extraction and mining industry, then power plants, where job losses will likely occur, and then consumer energy, bringing higher electricity rates that will then harm the manufacturing industry.

“Our region of the country is going to be hit, the Appalachian region and the coal states,” Van Nostrand told Newsmax. “The Northwest states will not be harmed at all because there is very little coal-powered industry there. The states that are heavily involved with the extraction industry and have high energy use from coal-fired power plants, they are going to be hit harder.”

Among other harsh outcomes that Heritage predicted were about 770 jobs lost per congressional district due to impacts on manufacturing and a drop of income for a family of four of about $1,200 per year.

Natural gas prices are predicted to rise 28 percent by 2030, Heritage researchers noted. States that stand to lose the most jobs are California, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, Indiana, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Georgia.

Van Nostrand said he hopes to create a broader conversation across the states on how EPA regulations should move forward. A Feb. 24 conference at his school looked at how states might create strategies that allow them to come in compliance with the rules, but with the least economic impact.

“You can no longer pretend this isn’t going to happen. The president said he is going to do everything he can under administrative order. It is happening. We wanted to kick-start the conversation of what to do,” he said.

Lawmakers must step up and work together on a legislative solution, he added.

“I think the failure of Congress to move forward with a comprehensive energy strategy leaves the president to use the tools he has available. It’s a blunt instrument. And coal-dependent states are going to get hammered by it,” he said. “Nothing has been passed by Congress so we’re left with the EPA. Congress needs to step up and pass some energy independence legislation.”

Loris agrees that legislation could stymie the regulations. Without it, the president has a clear path to do what he wants to on energy policy.

“I’d like to see Congress step in and prohibit the EPA and the federal agencies from regulating greenhouse gas emissions,” Loris said. “We’re talking about huge costs to families and on businesses in job growth. And we’re talking about negligible claims of impacts as a result of these regulations. From a policy perspective, even if you are concerned, these regulations are not going to move the needle back” on global warming.

Loris said the president moved ahead on his own when cap-and-trade legislation failed in Congress.

“He said there was more than one way to skin a cat. So he’s bypassing Congress and moving forward with these regulations that don’t need congressional approval,” Loris said. “He certainly wants to make climate change one of his legacy items and this is the way he’s going do it by regulatory fiat.”

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/US/EPA-rules-jobs-trillion/2014/03/27/id/562143/

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John Regelbrugge, American Patriot

     john

There are times in your life when a national news story really hits home and breaks your heart. That is what happened to me when the story broke about the mud slide in Washington. I had no idea when I first heard about the disaster how it would impact my life.

Esparto is a small town in northern California. It is one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone. One of those places where every kid is in 4H or FFA, a place where everyone in town turns out for the high school football games. School almost stops for the County Fair because all the students are there with their animals. Homecoming parades still happen and the elementary kids and the rest of town line Main Street to watch. Esparto is where you want to raise your kids. I know because mine were raised there. This is also where John was raised. I got to know the Regelbrugge family when we lived in Esparto. My husband was teaching at the high school and the younger boys, Dan and Joe were in school. Dan and Joe became close to my kids. When my kids were small, they would babysit for me and enjoyed playing and reading with the kids. As time went on, Dan coached my son Bryan in wrestling through his middle and high school years. The family was a close family and knew the importance of family. When John was in school, he went through school playing football and wrestling with his dad in the stands cheering him on. He was a small town kid who went out in the world and took his values and love of country with him.

After graduating high school in 1982,  John enlisted in the Navy. He quickly rose in the ranks to Boatswain Mate Chief Petty Officer and was commissioned in 1996 under the Limited Duty Officer Program. The Detachment Everett was formed in 1994 to perform intermediate level maintenance for ships located in the Pacific Northwest. The Navy determined that it was essential to assign sailors to the facility not only to conduct maintenance, but to train sailors on mechanical skills and ensure they were proficient in performing at sea repairs when they returned to the fleet. Captain Hugh Huck said about John,” I can think of no one else who can take this young fledgling organization and make it into a training center of excellence. This will be a place where sailors will thrive learning what they need to meet the demands of their ships as well as learn about leadership from some top notch people. John will be that person to challenge Detachment Everett towards the high demands of the future.”

He spent 20 years serving at sea in 13 deployments including Iraqi territorial waters in 2002 and 2006. His last deployment was an 8 month deployment last year providing support for military operations in Afganistan. In 2006, he was promoted to lieutenant commander and served on the USS Abraham Lincoln from 2006 to 2009. John transferred to the USS John Stennis in January 2012 and was promoted to commander in May 2012. In February, John became officer in charge of the Everett detachment of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. His goal was to reach full Captain before he retired from the Navy.

John had a wife and 5 children during his military career, two of his sons now serve in the Navy and a third son was serving in the Army,  but is now working and living at home.  John and his wife were the only ones home when the slide happened.

John’s brother had talked with him on the phone an hour before the slide happened. When he couldn’t reach John after the slide, he and his brothers left their homes to go and search for John. The brothers and John’s son found his body in the wreckage of his house yesterday morning, March 25. Sadly, his wife is still missing and the search continues for her.

This was a horrible tragedy. This national news story hit me personally and I wanted to share how tragic of a loss this is, not only for his family, but for America. He served his country in his long Navy career that spanned 32 years. He was a proud father to his children and a wonderful husband. The loss is heart breaking.

The small town of Esparto has set up a donation fund for the family.  Donations can be sent to:

Marysville  Navy Federal Credit Union

13910  45th Ave, NE #821

Marysville WA 98271

 john and Kris

http://www.news10.net/story/news/local/2014/03/25/former-yolo-county-man-kiilled-in-washington-mudslide/6882481/

http://www.kcra.com/news/esparto-father-community-pray-navy-commander-still-alive/25140428

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2014/03/brothers-of-u-s-navy-commander-find-his-body-in-mudslide-debris/

This is newest article from a local newspaper: http://www.dailydemocrat.com/news/ci_25415851/sons-brothers-find-body-john-regelbrugge-iii-washington

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More Questions About Benghazi – Revolving Door

Meet Beacon Global Strategies.

The online bios for its founders and managing directors suggest no group knows more about the Benghazi terrorist attack and the Obama administration’s response. Yet the consulting firm has deep ties to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others involved in the controversy – ties so intertwined with the administration and Capitol Hill that they raise questions about an upcoming hearing where former CIA Acting Director Mike Morell is slated to testify.

“It is like a revolving door on steroids,” Bill Allison, whose Sunlight Foundation is a nonprofit that supports government transparency, told Fox News, adding that Washington’s “revolving door” is a bipartisan problem.

“Republicans have gone through the revolving door, Democrats. … It says an awful lot about Washington and how hard it is to really be independent in Washington.”

Morell, who also is a national security analyst for CBS News and has a book deal, joined the Beacon firm after retiring from the CIA last year. In doing so, he joined an organization already stacked with ex-government officials. Among them is Philippe Reines, whom the New York Times magazine recently described as Clinton’s “principal gatekeeper.” According to Beacon’s website, Reines traveled to more than 110 countries with the then-Secretary of State as part of her senior team.

Another employee, Jeremy Bash, was a former chief of staff to Leon Panetta at both the CIA and Defense Department. Andrew Shapiro was a Clinton policy adviser at the State Department whose portfolio included ridding Libya of shoulder-launched missiles called MANPADs.

And it includes J. Michael Allen, who was a former majority staff director for the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Republican Rep. Mike Rogers.

In November 2012, Morell testified before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed session about Benghazi, when Allen was still staff director. In May 2013, Morell testified for a second time in a closed session about Benghazi and the so-called talking points – the administration’s flawed public narrative initially blaming a protest for the attack, which killed four Americans.

Morell now is expected to testify for a third time in early April before the same panel — the House Intelligence Committee, where his colleague Allen once worked — after Republican allegations he misled the Senate Intelligence Committee over the talking points. The next hearing is expected to be public.

Business records reviewed by Fox News show that in April 2013, Beacon Global Strategies registered as an LLC.

Congressional rules require immediate notice to the ethics committee when a senior Hill staffer, who earns more than $120,000, negotiates for outside employment. Allen falls into this category.

A Nov. 19, 2012 Memorandum to all House Members, Officers and Employees, posted on the Ethics Committee website states:

Certain House staff must notify the [Ethics] Committee within three (3) business days after they commence any negotiation or agreement for future employment or compensation with a private entity. Staff subject to this disclosure requirement are those employees of the House who are paid at or above an annual rate of $119,553.60. …”

“The term ‘negotiations’ connotes ‘a communication between two parties with a view toward reaching an agreement’ and in which there is ‘active interest on both sides.’”

It adds: “Employees also should avoid situations that might be viewed as presenting even a risk that the individual might be improperly influenced by personal financial interests.”

Disclosure forms, obtained by Fox News from the congressional clerk’s office and written in Allen’s handwriting, state that he filed with the ethics panel in July — almost three months after Beacon registered. Fox News asked Allen when he began informal discussions with Beacon, as opposed to formal negotiations for employment, and whether at the time of Morell’s May 2013 testimony, Allen was aware the former deputy director of the CIA might join Beacon.

In light of Morell’s upcoming testimony, and given the apparent discrepancy between Morell’s November 2012 and May 2013 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Fox News also asked Allen what steps he took to further investigate whether Morell had misled lawmakers.

After exchanging emails over a four-and-a-half hour period, Beacon Global Strategies LLC provided a lengthy statement to Fox News on behalf of Allen. While not providing specifics, Beacon provided “the overall timeline of the firm’s formation and the subsequent personnel actions.”

While Allen is listed on the website as a founder, Beacon’s statement indicates he was not approached until two months after its registration.

The statement said:

“This firm was founded on the strong belief that keeping America secure must be a nonpartisan endeavor, and is dedicated to acting in a truly bipartisan manner. We not only adhere to all governing ethics rules and laws, we strive to go above and beyond those requirements and hold ourselves to the high ethical and professional standards we did throughout our decades serving in government. As for the timeline: this company was formally created by the three original partners in April of 2013. Mr. Allen was approached at the end of June, at which point he filed a ‘Notification of Negotiations or Agreement for Future Employment’ with the US House of Representatives Committee on Ethics. He subsequently filed a ‘Statement of Recusal’ with the same committee. Upon accepting the offer to join the firm in July, he promptly and fully disclosed such to Congressional officials. Mr. Morell was not approached until November. Therefore, nobody could have been influenced by events that were not yet planned and had not yet occurred.”

Fox News spoke Monday with Rogers, chairman of the committee, who underscored the fact that no congressional panel has done more to investigate Benghazi than his — and that Morell is now being recalled for a third time, where, in an open forum, all issues can be addressed, including allegations that Morell misled the Senate Intelligence Committee.

As for Beacon, in a September interview with Defense News shortly after the firm launched, Reines indicated it may be a temporary stop. ”In terms of going back in, I think we all want to, but we also know that life doesn’t necessarily work out so cutely.”

Source: Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/24/revolving-door-ties-between-consultancy-govt-raise-questions-about-benghazi/

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And Meanwhile While the People Are Distracted

I ask the readers to bear with me as I present a scenario which may have taken place or could take place. No, it’s not a conspiracy theory; it is just something to think about.

It’s a normal night after work and John Doe is sitting at his normal watering hole when he overhears someone, call him Mr. X, talking about the government agency where he works and who in Mr. X’s opinion is violating the law and perhaps the Constitution (No, its not the IRS).

John looks at him, offers to buy Mr. X a drink and apologizes for “eavesdropping” but asks Mr. X about it.

After a couple of drinks, X explains the situation. John asks, “Have you gone to the IG?” X says, “Yes and I was ignored.”

How about going to the press?”

Yes and again was ignored, again. I guess it wasn’t “sexy” enough.”

John looks at him and asks, “Do you have proof or witnesses?”

Mr. X looks at John and says, “There are a couple of us and we have some emails addressed to us.”

John thinks and comes to a decision, he explains that he has a website and posts news and opinions, maybe if Mr. X and his friends are willing, he’ll post the information and maybe someone will listen.

Mr. X says he’ll talk to his friends and see what they say, but it sounds good.

John ends up posting the information, a congressional investigation ensues and John is called to testify.

When asked by a congressman, “Who is your source(s)?”

John looks at him and says, “Sir, I will not disclose my sources’ names.”

Are you or have you been ‘an employee, independent contractor or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information. The individual would have to have been employed for one year within the last 20 or three months within the last five years.’”, the Congressman asked.

No.”

Are you a student journalist,” the Congressman asked, “or are you someone with a considerable amount of freelance work in the last five years?”

No”

Then your ‘information is only privileged if it is disseminated by a news medium, described as “newspaper, nonfiction book, wire service, news agency, news website, mobile application or other news or information service (whether distributed digitally or otherwise); news program, magazine or other periodical, whether in print, electronic or other format; or thorough television or radio broadcast … or motion picture for public showing.’”, the Congressman continued.

John looked at the Congressman and asked, “Does that mean that my or other “non-journalists” have to reveal their source even if they ‘post on Twitter, blogs or other social media websites?’”

Yes”, answered the Congressman, “Even though it ‘does protect reporters and news media organizations from being required to reveal the identities of confidential sources, but it does not grant an absolute privilege to journalists. But ‘before the government asks a news organization to divulge sources, it first must go to a judge, who would supervise any subpoenas or court orders for information. Such orders would be limited, if possible, “in purpose, subject matter and period of time covered so as to avoid compelling disclosure of peripheral, nonessential or speculative information.”

John looked at the assembled Congress people, shook his head and asked, “Doesn’t the Constitution say in Article 1 of the Bill of Rights, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The assembled Congress people nodded and one spoke up and said, “Yes it does but ‘there is no first amendment right for gathering information.’”

Now to some, particularly those who blog on various websites, this scenario may seem far fetched or improbable, but as Gomer Pyle was so fond of saying, “Surprise, Surprise”

While everyone was focus on the missing airliner or the constant drum beat of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Obama’s complete lack of action, Senator Schumer says he has the votes in the Senate for the Media Shield Law which happens to be endorsed by the Obama administration.

Now, like every Patriot, I fully believe that reporters and their sources ARE already protected by the 1st Amendment, after all, how can you have a free press, IF the government defines who is or is not a legitimate reporter.

Why should reporters and bloggers have to worry about their sources being protected, when a reporter or a blogger’s source is the same as any tool that is required by any professional to do their job?

Now, should there be a Media Shield Law? Maybe IF and only IF Congress or Courts DO NOT attempt to define who is or is not a reporter.

Once again, the Federal Government & eventually the courts will redefine the Constitution.

Semper Fi

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Putin’s quiet Latin America play

Away from the conflict in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is quietly seeking a foothold in Latin America, military officials warn.

To the alarm of lawmakers and Pentagon officials, Putin has begun sending navy ships and long-range bombers to the region for the first time in years.

Russia’s defense minister says the country is planning bases in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, and just last week, Putin’s national security team met to discuss increasing military ties in the region.

“They’re on the march,” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) said at a Senate hearing earlier this month. “They’re working the scenes where we can’t work. And they’re doing a pretty good job.”

Gen. James Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command said there has been a “noticeable uptick in Russian power projection and security force personnel” in Latin America.

“It has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian military presence,” Kelly said at the March 13 hearing.

The U.S. military says it has been forced to cut back on its engagement with military and government officials in Latin America due to budget cuts. Kelly said the U.S. military had to cancel more than 200 effective engagement activities and multi-lateral exercises in Latin America last year.

With the American presence waning, officials say rivals such as Russia, China and Iran are quickly filling the void.

Iran has opened up 11 additional embassies and 33 cultural centers in Latin America while supporting the “operational presence” of militant group Lebanese Hezbollah in the region.

“On the military side, I believe they’re establishing, if you will, lily pads for future use if they needed to use them,” Kelly said.

China is making a play for Latin America a well, and is now the fastest growing investor in the region, according to experts. Although their activity is mostly economic, they are also increasing military activity through educational exchanges.

The Chinese Navy conducted a goodwill visit in Brazil, Chile and Argentina last year and conducted its first-ever naval exercise with the Argentine Navy.

Meanwhile, the U.S. had to cancel the deployment of its hospital ship USNS Comfort last year.

“Our relationships, our leadership, and our influence in the Western Hemisphere are paying the price,” Kelly said.

Some experts warn against being too alarmist, and say Russia, China and Iran do not have the ability or desire to project military power beyond their borders.

Army War College adjunct professor Gabriel Marcella said Russia’s maneuvering is more about posturing than a real threat.

“Latin America is seen as an opportunity to challenge the United States in terms of global presence,” he said. “They want to show the flag to assert their presence and say they need to be counted on the world stage.”

Other experts said the encroachment of rivals has huge economic implications for the U.S., which has more trade partners in Latin America than in any other region in the world.

“[Russia’s presence] serves to destabilize what has become a more stabilized, middle class continent with an increasing respect for the rule of law. … Any type of unsettling of that environment will scare off investors,” said Jason Marczak, deputy director at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.

“Market economies and democracies are fundamental for trade, for jobs, and for stable investment environments,” he said.

Marczak noted the instability in Venezuela, which is facing civil unrest from anti-government protestors.

“In Venezuela, a lot of the money that’s been able to prop up President Chavez and now Maduro has been Chinese money,” Kelly said.

So far, 31 protestors have been killed in clashes with government security forces.

“I see a real degradation in what used to pass as Venezuelan democracy. There’s less and less of that now,” Kelly said.

And while Chinese investment in Latin America could have positive aspects for the region, it could also make it more difficult for U.S. official to push labor and environmental safeguards that it argues are building blocks for democracy, Marczak said.

Angel Rabasa, a senior political scientist at RAND, said cuts to the defense budget are going to accelerate a long trend of U.S. neglect and disengagement with Latin America.

According to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), there are 10 countries in Latin America that currently have no U.S. ambassador because they either haven’t been nominated yet or confirmed, a sign that the region is seen as a low priority.

“We will be losing the ability to influence developments in a region that is very important to us because of proximity,” Rabasa said.

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HHS Official Calls Agency ‘Secretive, Autocratic, and Unaccountable’ in Resignation Letter

Science is rife with corruption, incompetence, dishonesty and fabrication–and now, thanks to a frank resignation letter by the US’s top scientific misconduct official we have a better idea why.

David E. Wright, a respected science historian, has just quit his job as director of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI; part of the Department of Health and Human Services) and is scathing about his experiences there.

In his resignation letter, he accuses his boss HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh of running an organization which is “secretive, autocratic and unaccountable.”

He writes to Koh:

In one instance, by way of illustration, I urgently needed to fill a vacancy for an ORI division director.  I asked the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health (your deputy) when I could proceed.  She said there was a priority list.  I asked where ORI’s request was on that list.  She said the list was secret and that we weren’t on the top, but we weren’t on the bottom either. Sixteen months later we still don’t have a division director on board.

His experiences at ORI, he adds, have confirmed all his worst suspicions about the workings of federal bureaucracy.

We spend exorbitant amounts of time in meetings and in generating repetitive and often meaningless data and reports to make our precinct of the bureaucracy look productive.  None of this renders the slightest bit of assistance to ORI in handling allegations of misconduct or in promoting the responsible conduct of research.  Instead, it sucks away time and resources that we might better use to meet our mission.

Wright’s observations go some way towards explaining why so much of the corruption in US science goes either uninvestigated or unpunished.

One example can be found in this letter from Senator Charles “Chuck” Grassley (R-IA) to the ORI about the case of an AIDS researcher at Iowa State University who faked data to obtain nearly $19 million in NIH grant money. The ORI banned the researcher from receiving grants for three years but has apparently made no attempt to recoup the missing $19 million.

This kind of skullduggery is especially prevalent in the fields of “climate science” and environmentalism because so much government, European Union, and United Nations money has been pumped into these fashionable areas of concern.

At UC Berkeley, a researcher named Tyrone Hayes has built a highly successful career on promoting the “endocrine disruptor” scare–doing enormous harm to the US agricultural industry–despite no other scientist having been able to replicate his research.

Or consider the nonsense widely promulgated about the Costa Rican golden toad–a species whose disappearance alarmist scientists frequently ascribe to “climate change,” despite overwhelming evidence that it perished as a result of a fungus unconnected with “global warming.”

But few branches of science are immune, as this infographic from Clinicalpsychology.net makes clear.

Among its findings:

1 in 3 scientists admits to using questionable research practices

1 in 50 scientists admits to falsifying or fabricating data outright.

71 percent of scientists report that colleagues have used questionable methods

14 percent claim colleagues have falsified data

Among biomedical research trainees at the University of California, San Diego five percent admitted to modifying results and 81 percent said they would fabricate or modify results to win a grant or publish a paper.

And those are just the ones who’ll admit it….

 

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/03/21/Science-historian-resigns

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The Grunts Damned If They Kill, Damned If They Don’t

An article printed in the Huffington Post brings to light what many Combat Veterans have faced in past wars and are facing now. It has been famously said that “War is Hell” but until you have personally experienced war with all of its inhumanity and horror you simply cannot truly understand the emotional roller coaster these men and women go through. As a country we ask our military to protect Americas interests around the world and they do so with a dedication to stand as the point of the spear in any battle. Those who survive return home forever changed by the things they have done and seen but seldom talked about except with fellow veterans who can truly understand. People who have suffered serious injury or disease are helped in their recovery both mentally and physically but veterans who are wounded normally receive only help with their physical injuries but the emotional trauma is left to them and their family and friends. Reading this article may help you understand the emotional ups and downs these men and women go through daily. Most veterans learn to cope with the things they had to do and the things they have seen by putting them in the back of their minds but many are tormented forever. Many of these find suicide easier than constantly facing the demons of the past.

 

The article is very long but it is well worth reading and is sure to enlighten people to some of the results of armed combat. I will post the link because the article is far to long to post here. As a Marine Corps veteran I highly recommend you taking the time to read this excellent article.

 

http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/moral-injury/the-grunts?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000072

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The EPA is out of control…Wyoming Welder faces $75,000 a day fine for a pond on his own property

All Andy Johnson wanted to do was build a stock pond on his sprawling eight-acre Wyoming farm. He and his wife Katie spent hours constructing it, filling it with crystal-clear water, and bringing in brook and brown trout, ducks and geese. It was a place where his horses could drink and graze, and a private playground for his three children.

But instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, the Wyoming welder says he was harangued by the federal government, stuck in what he calls a petty power play by the Environmental Protection Agency. He claims the agency is now threatening him with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $75,000-a-day fine.

“I have not paid them a dime nor will I,” a defiant Johnson told FoxNews.com. “I will go bankrupt if I have to fighting it. My wife and I built [the pond] together. We put our blood, sweat and tears into it. It was our dream.”

But Johnson may be in for a rude awakening.

The government says he violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Further, the EPA claims that material from his pond is being discharged into other waterways. Johnson says he built a stock pond — a man-made pond meant to attract wildlife — which is exempt from Clean Water Act regulations.

The property owner says he followed the state rules for a stock pond when he built it in 2012 and has an April 4-dated letter from the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office to prove it.

“Said permit is in good standing and is entitled to be exercised exactly as permitted,” the state agency letter to Johnson said.

But the EPA isn’t backing down and argues they have final say over the issue. They also say Johnson needs to restore the land or face the fines.

Johnson plans to fight. “This goes a lot further than a pond,” he said. “It’s about a person’s rights. I have three little kids. I am not going to roll over and let [the government] tell me what I can do on my land. I followed the rules.”

Johnson says he was “bombarded by hopelessness” when he first received the administrative order from the EPA. He then turned to state lawmakers who fast-tracked his pleas to Wyoming’s two U.S. senators, John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter.

The Republican lawmakers sent a March 12 letter to Nancy Stoner, the EPA’s acting assistant administration for water, saying they were “troubled” by Johnson’s case and demanding the EPA withdraw the compliance order.

“Rather than a sober administration of the Clean Water Act, the Compliance Order reads like a draconian edict of a heavy-handed bureaucracy,” the letter states.

The EPA order on Jan. 30 gave Johnson 30 days to hire a consultant and have him or her assess the impact of the supposed unauthorized discharges. The report was also supposed to include a restoration proposal to be approved by the EPA as well as contain a schedule requiring all work be completed within 60 days of the plan’s approval.

If Johnson doesn’t comply — and he hasn’t so far — he’s subject to $37,500 per day in civil penalties as well as another $37,500 per day in fines for statutory violations.

The senators’ letter questioned the argument that Johnson built a dam and not a stock pond.

“Fairness and due process require the EPA base its compliance order on more than an assumption,” they wrote. “Instead of treating Mr. Johnson as guilty until he proves his innocence by demonstrating his entitlement to the Clean Water Act section 404 (f)(1)(C) stock pond exemption, EPA should make its case that a dam was built and that the Section 404 exemption does not apply.”

The EPA told FoxNews.com that it is reviewing the senators’ letter. “We will carefully evaluate any additional information received, and all of the facts regarding this case,” a spokeswoman for the agency said.

The authority of the EPA has recently been called into question over proposed rule changes that would redefine what bodies of water the government agency will oversee under the Clean Water Act.

The proposed changes would give the agency a say in ponds, lakes, wetlands and any stream — natural or manmade — that would have an effect on downstream navigable waters on both public land and private property. “If the compliance order stands as an example of how EPA intends to operate after completing its current ‘waters of the United States’ rulemaking, it should give pause to each and every landowner throughout the country,” the letter states.

For now, the matter remains unresolved. Johnson says he’s not budging and there’s been no indication from the EPA they will withdraw the compliance order.

Regardless of the outcome, Johnson says his legal fight with the government agency is a teachable moment for his kids

“This is showing them that they shouldn’t back down,” Johnson said. “If you need to stand up and fight, you do it.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/14/wyoming-welder-faces-fine-for-building-pond-on-his-own-property/

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