While you were making plans for Memorial Day, this is what Obama released.
Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
Once again, the Obama administration has stealthily released its spring regulatory agenda, which includes the costliest regulation in history, as millions of Americans hit the road to celebrate Memorial Day weekend.
Obama’s Spring 2015 Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan has more than 2,300 regulations in various stages of planning and lays out the administration’s regulatory plans for the coming months. The White House, however, has developed a reputation for releasing their regulatory agendas on the eve of major holidays when many Americans are in the midst of travelling.
The White House released its Fall 2014 Unified Agenda the day before Thanksgiving, and Obama’s Spring 2014 agenda was released the Friday before Memorial Day weekend — both days involve millions of people travelling across the country and paying little attention to political news.
While this spring’s regulatory agenda has fewer regulations than the agenda from last fall, this year’s regulatory plan includes what could be the costliest regulation in U.S. history: the EPA’s proposed national ozone standard.
The agency is proposing lowering the national ambient ozone standard from 75 parts per billion to between 65 and 70 parts per billion. EPA says the lower standard will prevent from 320,000 to 960,000 asthma attacks per year, along with “preventing more than 750 to 4,300 premature deaths; 1,400 to 4,300 asthma-related emergency room visits; and 65,000 to 180,000 missed workdays.”
“Bringing ozone pollution standards in line with the latest science will clean up our air, improve access to crucial air quality information, and protect those most at-risk. It empowers the American people with updated air quality information to protect our loved ones — because whether we work or play outdoors — we deserve to know the air we breathe is safe,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement when the rule was released last year.
Republicans and industry groups have opposed the EPA’s ground-level ozone standard and put forth data showing this rule could end up being the costliest regulation in U.S. history. A report by the National Association of Manufacturers says the ozone rule could cost $140 billion per year. That’s $1.7 trillion between 2017 and 2040.
Why would the ozone rule cost so much? The EPA sets ozone levels for the country and states are responsible for developing plans to meet whatever standard is set by the agency. Critics of the rule argue that the new ozone standards would be so low, it would be impossible for huge swaths of the country to be in compliance.
For instance, research has shown EPA’s proposed ozone standard is so strict that about 100 state and national parks would not be forced out of compliance. Hardly centers of industry, parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon would not comply with the EPA’s proposal, according to research by the center-right American Action Forum.
The most recent salvo against the EPA’s rule has been an ad campaign by the American Petroleum Institute (API), urging the federal government not to change the current ozone standard.
“Even as we drive more, use more energy and grow our economy, air pollution is dropping. Ozone levels are down 18 percent,” an API TV ad says. “But bureaucrats want to change the current rules safeguarding public health.”
“Don’t mess with success,” the ad says. “Keep the current strict ozone standards.”
Environmentalists and the EPA have pushed back against attacks on the ozone proposal, saying it’s necessary to protect public health. The EPA says the cost of the rule will be modest, costing only $16.6 billion and yielding health benefits up to $38 billion.
Source: Daily CallerFollow VeronicaCoffin
We are free today because of the sacrifices of Americans in the past. That is why we salute and honor them on Memorial Day.
Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
We need to remind ourselves that Memorial Day is not just another three-day weekend or a day when all manner of sales are offered to those who want to go shopping. It is a day set aside to honor the ultimate sacrifice of those who have fought to defend our nation and take military action in foreign nations. We honor, too, those who suffered wounds and returned home.
We like to think of America as a nation that has gone to war only when we had to, but a new book, “America Invades: How We’ve Invaded or Been Invaded with Almost Every Country on Earth” tells a different story based on history.
As documented by its authors, Christopher Kelly and Stuart Laycock, America, “has invaded or fought in eighty-four out of 194 countries (countries recognized by the United Nations and excluding the United States) in the world. That’s 43 percent of the total. And it hasn’t been militarily involved with just ninety or a hundred countries. It has had some form of military involvement with a spectacular 191 out of 194. That’s more than 98 percent.”
“Most people,” the authors note “would probably agree that much of what America has done around the world has clearly been wise and noble (as in helping liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny.) Some, however, have been wrong and/or unwise. And some of what America has done has been in-between. In some sense, it’s like looking at the history of one’s own family. And, indeed, all of it—the liberations, the fiascos, and follies—is, in some sense, part of the history of every American citizen.”
That’s why it is a good idea to pause on Memorial Day because as an American it is part of your history. “Americans are always hoping for peace but usually preparing for war” says the authors who remind us that “the American eagle is an ambivalent bird holding arrows in the talons of one foot and an olive branch in the other.”
Our natural instinct is for peace. Only aggressive nations, usually led by despots, want war. That is not a description of America. We have not, however, shied from war when the enemy was a well-defined aggressor.
“In the twenty-first century, the United States, though challenged by Russia and China, is the sole remaining superpower. The global responsibilities that we began to shoulder in the twentieth century seem today more burdensome than ever. The cost of being the world’s policeman seems exorbitant in terms of both lives and treasure.”
That’s why we need to remind ourselves that, as a former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, has said of America, “We are the indispensable nation.”
We have learned what happens when our President has retreated from the responsibility to deter war. Since leaving Iraq with no U.S. military ground support that nation which was stable at the end of our war there has come under attack by the Islamic State. The President’s efforts to reach a deal with Iran that would allow them to become a nuclear power is causing Arab states to regard the U.S. as abandoning them and could lead to a nuclear arms race in a part of the world that is far from stable.
The U.S. in the wake of World War Two has a vast network of bases and alliances that span the world. Many of those bases were created at the invitation of the host nation. The result, as the authors note is that “The U.S. military, but virtue of its global reach, is almost invariably the first to respond to natural disasters as they occur around the world. If not us, then who will?”
On Memorial Day we honor our sons and daughters who gave their lives when their nation called on them.
“Today the sacrifice of over 218,000 American servicemen and servicewomen is memorialized in military cemeteries in twenty-four different overseas cemeteries in eleven different countries. The boundaries of Jefferson’s Empire of Liberty, therefore, stretch around the world.”
We worry about the emergence of other world powers, but I doubt that Russia which lost 127 million of its people in World War Two or China which is focused on building an economy based heavily on world trade are serious wartime threats.
That does not, however, exclude the likelihood that events may cause the next President to conclude that the only way to put the lid on the Middle East is to return militarily to Iraq and to make it clear to Iran that its nuclear ambitions are untenable and unacceptable.
The ancient Romans knew a truth they share in the phrase, “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” If you want peace, plans for war.
About the only thing that is predictable is that somewhere in the world there will be new wars and, given its power and its responsibility, America may well be engaged in restoring the peace.
© Alan Caruba, 2015Follow VeronicaCoffin
Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
By Carey Wedler
On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced that 5 major banks will be fined a total of about $5.7 billion. The banks plead guilty to manipulating global currency and interest rates as far back as 2007. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Swiss bank, UBS, will pay fines that symbolize the government’s desire to reign in the power of the financial elite.
The New York Times painted the fines as a win because while banks have entered guilty pleas before, they have always been from subsidiaries of the parent companies. This time, the parent companies themselves plead guilty.
While symbolically, the move appears to reprimand evil bankers, the reality is that such fines are miniscule compared to the profits banks reap. $5.7 billion dollars is nothing compared to the $40.24 billion net income that banks earned in the second quarter of 2014 alone. It was the second highest profit total in the last 23 years, surpassed only by 2013. Further, the fines are nothing compared to the trillions of dollars in bailouts that banks received at the outset of the financial crisis.
What is more unsettling about today’s DOJ tap on the wrist is that while major banks must pay $5.7 billion, in the first quarter of 2015, customers were charged $2.5 billion in overdraft fees. Three major banks (JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America) took $1.1 billion of this total. Some 600 others raked in the rest. Still, the “earnings” made up only 6% of bank profits for the major three involved. Overdraft fees for a single year could easily cover the $5.7 billion charged to the banks today. This discredits the alleged effectiveness of fining financial institutions for these transgressions.
Though it is predictable that a government bought and paid for by bankers refuses to seriously address the stranglehold of their power over the economy and government, it is outrageous that the DOJ is attempting to portray such meager fines as a win for the people.
Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, touted her “success”:
“Today’s historic resolutions are the latest in our ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute financial crimes, and they serve as a stark reminder that this Department of Justice intends to vigorously prosecute all those who tilt the economic system in their favor; who subvert our marketplaces; and who enrich themselves at the expense of American consumers.”
Over and over, the state fines banks hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars for transgressions and policies that hurt a majority of citizens. Over and over, banks still commit crimes, proving fines are not a deterrent. Banks still enjoy record profits and the transfer of wealth from poor to rich continues to destroy the economy. The banking lobby influences the regulations written for their industry. The fines they pay amount to a meager cut of profit for the government that enables them.
As the vice president of Barclays bank said in 2010 of the crimes the bank had just plead guilty to, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.”
Today’s illusory victory only validates the criminal bankers’ policies.