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Mark Caserta: After eight long years of Obama, are you better off?

30 Sep

Well, the president says you are.

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Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot Editor

9.30.16

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The Obama administration has been at our nation’s helm for nearly eight years. So, are you any better off after two presidential terms of liberal policies?

Well, Barack Obama says you are.

In his speech at the recent Democrat convention in Philadelphia, the president spoke of his efforts to end the war in Iraq and bring justice to those who would terrorize the American people.

“We brought more of our troops home to their families, and we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden,” the president said before supporters. He went on to suggest that “through diplomacy,” he was able to shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Yet, as reported by many news publications, including the New York Times, the United States has re-deployed as many as 560 more troops to Iraq to help retake Mosul from ISIS. I believe this is only the beginning of a much-needed surge to retake areas lost due to Obama’s telegraphed exit of Iraq.

And as far as Osama bin Laden’s death, do you feel any safer?

FBI Director James Comey has repeatedly told Americans he has over a thousand “ISIS related” investigations ongoing in all 50 states. And we recently saw what I believe was a “test run” of coordinated attacks on the U.S. with the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the recent stabbing spree in a Minnesota mall.

Does anyone really believe the timeline of these attacks was simply coincidence? We must prepare for them on a larger scale.

And the president’s negotiations with Iran have far from “shut down” Iran’s nuclear program.

Not only has Obama helped fund Iran’s nuclear armament, his timid approach has emboldened Iranian leaders to “thumb their noses” at the U.S. and test launch nuclear-capable missiles in defiance of a United Nation Security Council resolution, as reported in a March 2016 column in Reuters.

In his speech, Obama also told Americans, “By many measures, our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started.”

This president has a unique interpretation of success. Take Obamacare for example.

But as we’ve seen, Obamacare is collapsing beneath its own weight of false promises and impotent planning.

As reported in a Heritage Foundation column written by Edmund F. Haislmaier, senior research fellow for the Health Policy Studies Center, Affordable Care Act Exchange participation by insurers continues to decline. He writes there are now 287 exchange-participating insurers, compared with 307 in 2015. Major insurers like Aetna and UnitedHealth Group have already made plans to abandon the president’s failing initiative.

And premiums have gone through the roof for many fortunate enough to still have coverage!

Progressive policies have caused the U.S. to decline in nearly every single metric. And we are surely no better off under liberal rule.

Hillary Clinton brings the exact same package to the presidency – only worse.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Doug Smith: Words Matter

20 Jul

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Doug Smith:  Author, historian and lead contributor for Free State Patriot

“Don’t tell me words don’t matter.”

Barack Obama, Feb 2008

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Truly, they do. Would you rather have the desiccated muscle tissue of a bovine mammal which had to have feces washed off its deceased carcass before slicing it away, or a nicely marbled, juicy steak? Both statements reflect the truth, but how and what was said makes a difference.

One must marvel at Barak Obama’s fluid association with words, meanings, and truth. Hillary’s association with the truth is like that of the parents of a child who never knew his father: a brief and forgettable encounter, never to be repeated, but with lasting ramifications.

So, words. When Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali, it was pretty clear to him and the world that he had adopted Islam as his religion. The words were a clear statement of where his allegiance and sympathies lay. Barry Soweto changed his name to Barak Hussein Obama, but insists he is not a Muslim, but a Christian. Perhaps he is. But the words matter: the name he uses sends a clear message to the world that his sympathies and a romantic attachment for all things Muslim characterizes him.

When the latest Islamic terrorist shoots/runs over/blows up innocent people in a murderous rage while shouting what the entire world recognizes as the Muslim battle cry, the entire world knows who and what the murderer was. But not Barak Obama. He agonizes over what the motivation might have been. He calls them radical extremists. He calls them bad Muslims who do not truly embrace Islam. While of course the Islamic State of Syria calls them Muslim martyrs, as they call themselves.

When a Muslim extremist government arises, having had their one and only election, complete with armed terrorists to ensure the vote goes the right way, and then begins moving toward a repressive Sharia regime, Barack Obama latches onto the fact that they voted once and calls them Democratic. He supports them with money and weapons. He ignores pro liberty protestors to the Ayatollahs of Iran and permits then to be slaughtered, while making deals with Iran to ensure they get a Nuclear weapon.

With a civil war fraught with repression of Kurds, and Coptic Christians, and the genocide of Syrian Christians rages, Obama makes no provision for the Christian victims of genocide by Isis or Assad to receive asylum, nor does he press regional Muslim nations to provide safe havens close at hand. Instead he proposes to bring thousands of Muslims from Syria to the US, ignoring the terrorists sure to come with them.

Now when I was a sailor, my language could be colorfully described as salty. There is the oft told story of a young sailor coming home and asking Grandma for the mashed potatoes using his newly learned salty language to everyone’s chagrin. Some of the salt never goes away. And my language reflected my work, and my life as a sailor, and what I was. (Not just the salty and blue terms, but no sailor goes to the bathroom: we make a Head call.) So words matter. I could deny being a sailor, but it would be obvious that my words matter and that they were influenced by my time at sea. As were my actions and my choices.

They say you can take the boy out of the Navy, but you can never get the Navy out of the boy. How I thought and how I would act was reflected by my language.

So words matter.

For me.

And for Barack Obama. I don’t presume to know if he is a Muslim or not.

But his words make it clear that for him, it is Muslims first, and America far behind.

And that matters, a great deal.

Mark Caserta: A letter to the president about the economy

10 Jun

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Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot Editor

6.10.16

              

 

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Dear President Obama,

 

Greetings from the great state of West Virginia!

Mr. President, last week in an interview with The Economist, you boasted to the American people the economy is better now than when you took office saying, “Since I have come into office, there’s almost no economic metric by which you couldn’t say that the U.S. economy is better and that corporate bottom lines are better – None.”

Well, Mr. President, I’m not sure what metrics apply in Washington, but as for the rest of the country, things have never been tougher.

Sadly, throughout your presidency, the complicit liberal media has refused to engage you with direct questions aimed at getting honest answers.

So if you’ll indulge me, Mr. President, I would like to pose a few simple questions.

Mr. President, our nation’s labor participation force is the lowest it’s been since the mid-1970s. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 94 million Americans are missing from the labor force. During the same period of time in 2008, the number was 79 million Americans. How do you explain this tragic drop in employment?

President Obama, as you know, individuals who haven’t actively looked for work for four weeks are dropped from the monthly reported unemployment rate. Given the record number of Americans not looking for work and missing from the labor force, don’t you feel it’s misleading to report unemployment at below 5 percent?

Mr. President, following the Bush presidency, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there were 28.2 million people on food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Yet, according to recent SNAP statistics, this number has increased to over 44 million people. How do you explain so many more people now dependent upon the government for food?

Mr. President, in recent weeks, you’ve used the word “booming” to describe certain segments of our economy. Yet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income has dropped from $55,313 in 2008 when you took office to $53,657 in 2014. When factoring price increases, the median household income becomes comparable to levels we haven’t seen since the mid-1990s. What words do you have for families not feeling the “boom” in the economy?

In 2008, Mr. President, when you were running for office, you criticized then-President Bush for adding $4 trillion to the national debt, saying it was “unpatriotic” and “irresponsible” to burden future generations with such a large national debt.

Yet, since taking office in 2009, your administration has added another $7.5 trillion, according to multiple sources, including The Weekly Standard. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office predicts the debt could exceed $19 trillion by the end of your presidency. Would you now “walk back” your 2009 indictment of Bush?

“Metrics” are only as good as the data, Mr. President. And yours fail to meet the mark.

But if you’re looking for a good accountant to honestly track the information, give us a call here in West Virginia.

We have plenty of people who could use the work.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

ISIS rises, the economy falters, and Obama’s legacy falls apart

24 May

 

 May 23, 2015 | 12:00am

Deep into the seventh year of his tenure, Barack Obama is thinking about his post-presidential legacy. We know this because he’s telling us so.

In an interview this week with The Atlantic about the potential deal with Iran regarding its nuclear program, the president sought to use the fact of his relative youth and his consciousness about how history might judge him to his advantage: “Look, 20 years from now, I’m still going to be around, God willing. If Iran has a nuclear weapon, it’s my name on this. I think it’s fair to say that in addition to our profound national-security interests, I have a personal interest in locking this down.”

In one sense, this is what we want presidents to worry about. We want them to be restrained by the cautionary examples provided by history and by the fact that history will judge them.

But what if the desire to tip the scales of history’s judgment in his favor leads a president to take dangerous risks?

In fact, we know that is what Obama has done with the Iran deal because his aides have told us so.

His deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, put it this way last year to a roomful of liberal activists when talking about the initial November 2013 agreement to begin talking about Iran’s nuclear program: “Bottom line is, this is the best opportunity we’ve had to resolve the Iranian issue diplomatically…This is probably the biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy. This is health care for us, just to put it in context.”

But this “opportunity” didn’t just emerge organically — which is actually where “opportunities” are supposed to come from. It did not result from changing conditions that opened a new possibility of finding common ground.Iran’s behavior didn’t change, and its pursuit of nuclear weapons didn’t change. Obama manufactured what Rhodes called an opportunity by pursuing a deal with Iran and dangling all kinds of carrots in front of the mullahs.

And why? Because he wants a foreign-policy legacy to match the size and scope of his key legacy in domestic policy.

And who can blame him? After the failure of the Arab Spring, the collapse of Libya, the failure to act on his self-imposed “red line” in Syria, Russia’s seizure of Crimea from Ukraine and the terrifying rise and forward march of ISIS, the only unmitigated positive on his foreign-policy spreadsheet remains the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Look, the guy will need something impressive to fill the exhibition space at his brand-new presidential library in Chicago.

Obama’s asking us to trust him because, he says, you can’t think he would want to look like the man who allowed Iran to go nuclear at some point in the future.

So what explains the president’s own unprompted comments in an NPR interview in April that, under the terms already announced, Iran would have the right to go nuclear by 2028 — when he will,

God willing, be a mere 67 years of age?

“A more relevant fear,” he said, “would be that in year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point, the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.”

Obama offered an answer. “The option of a future president to take action if in fact they try to obtain a nuclear weapon is undiminished,” he said.

So it will be up to his successors to bail him out in the eyes of history and make it appear as though his legacy wasn’t the nuclear destabilization of the Middle East!

Speaking of legacies, how’s that key domestic-policy legacy going? Not so hot.

ObamaCare remains unpopular; far more Americans oppose than favor it.

People still remember the disaster of the October 2013 rollout, which still casts a shadow over the program today.

Those hard feelings were deepened last year by the discovery of a series of talks by key ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber in which he bragged that it had been falsely marketed to the American people to take advantage of their stupidity.

Its defenders say the program is beginning to work, in the sense that it’s covering more people — but it’s not covering as many as the administration said it would by this time.

They tout the fact that the cost of the program is lower than it was supposed to be by now.

But that’s an inconsistent claim; it’s only less expensive because it isn’t meeting its target numbers, not because cost savings have suddenly materialized from the ether.

Meanwhile, at some point over the next month, the entire policy may be thrown into terminal chaos when the Supreme Court issues its judgment in a case called King v. Burwell — which challenges the legality of a central component of ObamaCare.

As the Supreme Court debates and writes its opinions, the overall economy continues to sputter. Over the past five years, it grows and halts, grows and halts, in a somewhat mystifying pattern that has kept the American people on guard and on edge.

In the latest RealClearPolitics polling average, 62% say the country is on the wrong track — more than seven years after Obama moved into the White House.

Obama still has 18 months to go, and presidents have staged remarkable turnarounds in public opinion in such a time frame. Bill Clinton did it before his re-election in 1996, which seemed like a ludicrous prospect in early 1995.

Ronald Reagan was at low ebb in mid-1987 and left office on a triumphant high in early 1989.

But we’ve also seen the opposite. Indeed, we’ve seen the opposite more recently. George W. Bush was in bad shape in mid-2007, unquestionably — worse than Obama, because he’d lost the confidence of some Republicans, while Obama seems not to have lost any of his base.

But in 2008 the bottom fell out when a financial crisis that began in the spring turned into a total meltdown by the fall. Bush left office with one poll showing his approval rating at 22%.

Right now, would you bet on things getting substantially better for Barack Obama, or substantially worse? Does it look like we’re going to triumph over ISIS?

Does it feel like the economy is going to improve or that ObamaCare will suddenly gain public support? Does it seem like the deal with Iran is a good one?

If you answer these questions in the affirmative, then you are likely to be the sort of person who’s kept your 2008 Obama “Hope” poster on your wall and your 2012 Obama bumper sticker on your car.

Alas for America and the world, a poster and a bumper sticker do not a legacy make.

DOUG SMITH: MAKERS AND MARAUDERS

9 Mar

THE ENEMY FROM WITHIN…

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FSP regular contributor, author and historian, Doug Smith.

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March, 9, 2015

In Barack Obama’s infamous “You didn’t build it” speech, he said that we no longer have to worry about roving bands of marauders.   Webster defines a marauder as one who “roves and wanders in search of plunder”.

We have had marauders throughout much of history. In the dark ages of Europe, ship loads of marauders came southwest from the cold, challenging lands of Scandinavia to go “a Viking” for plunder in Britain and France. It was easier, and more rewarding for them to raid the goods of farmers and fishermen, merchants and tradesmen, and petty lords of England than to do the hard, never ending work of producing their own goods. Just wait for them to build up their goods, raid villages, kill any who resist, and take as much as you can pile into your ships. Then sail back home to wait till time for the next raid.

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Someone in England devised a plan to simply meet the Vikings at the shore, and offer them gold to go away without murdering anybody. This appeasement was known as the Dane geld, or Danish Gold. Unfortunately, what they soon realized was that “Once you pay the Dane geld, you’ll never be rid of the Dane.

Now, one enterprising Viking, William II, also known as the Bastard, and the Conqueror, had a better idea. In 1066, he defeated English forces from his lands in Normandy, and established Norman rule of England. William’s line was notable in history: Henry II and 2 of his sons, Richard the Lionhearted, and after his death the younger brother John, villain of the Robin Hood tales. It was from John the “Nobles” (a group of successful marauders) exacted the Magna Carta. Winston Churchill wrote of John “his vices may have contributed more to civilization than the virtues of his predecessors.” This enterprising band of marauders gave their family a new name, based on a common plant used as a broom, symbolizing how they swept any resistance away before their conquests. The plant was the Genets, or Planta Genets, and the family? The Plantagenet.

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Thus this family, founded by Vikings, notable for producing nothing except the death of their opponents, (at which they were very good: William, Henry, and Richard were all excellent soldiers and generals) became the first royal family of Britain. They amassed wealth in gold and arms, but most particularly, in land. They ate food which they had never grown, but coerced from the peasant class at the point of a sword. The swords of their knights assured that the lions share would go to the king ( note the family coat of arms: 3 Lions) , and a smaller, but significant share would go to the lesser nobility and knights, who were the armed enforcers of the taxes to the king, dukes, earls, barons and knights. They granted, Noblesse Oblige, a meager living to the peasants, who were bound to the land, as long as they worked, produced, and handed over most of what they produced to the tax collectors. Marauding was very good business.

(The current Queen of England is the wealthiest welfare recipient in the world. She has a net worth of 10 Billion, including palaces and stately homes, and still receives an income from the taxpayers of $50 million annually. )

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The primary product of the class of nobility (marauders who have granted themselves titles) is government, whose primary function is to extract taxes from the people who actually produce the goods.

Now, an interesting phenomenon occurred around the end of the 19th century. The bulk of the income of the English nobility was derived from the agricultural products of the lands which they owned, but permitted farmers to work. An economic depression caused prices to plummet, and the income for many of the nobles was cut in half. Having little business understanding (they were nobles: they hired managers to deal with the vulgar task of managing their estates) and living with huge staffs in their Stately Old Homes, many aristocrats were suddenly teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. They may have the title of Earl or Marquees, inherited from generations of marauders, but no income, and no standing army to send out to raid France. But there was a source of wealth, impressed with the sound of the British titles of nobility, and quite willing to make a trade. The wealthy daughters of Americans who had become wealthy in the Industrial Revolution, but were cut out of the “ old money society” in America, could marry a poor English lord and become a title Lady overnight, thus solving his insolvency and getting her shot at nobility. So the daughters of successful makers were reluctantly accepted into English society on the basis of their money which propped up many failing estates. Most notable among these was the mother of future PM Winston Churchill. It is estimated that these “Dollar Princesses” brought with them in the first decade of the 20th century, some 1 Billion £.

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So, the descendants of the marauders were, after all, dependent on the descendants of the makers. They must either marry them, or force them to pay with the threat of violence. Since they are not enough to force them alone, they must employ lesser marauders, who will take up arms and enforce the collections for them, in return for their own lesser share of the plunder. Marauders never make things, or grow things, except for laws and rules that make them seem entitled to the produce of someone else’s labor. And, like their Viking ancestors, marauders are very, very good at coercion, force, and justification of taking what they want, simply because they want it.

America is unique in its founding on a premise that the farmer, in his fields, or the worker in his blacksmith shop will be a free and armed citizen, not a helpless, dependent serf. For much of history, the history of the marauder, the serf was strictly forbidden to hold arms, or speak up about how he was ruled. His betters would protect him from other marauders, and rule with wisdom. They would have titles, letters, and degrees to demonstrate how superior they were. Any resistance, whether with arms or with words, was suppressed violently as their Viking ancestors had taught them through the ages.

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In the American experiment, each man could protest, and take up arms and fight, against the lesser marauders of the “Nobility”. That was, and is, new in history, but marauders? They are as old as history itself.

So, Barack Obama was not comforting anyone who is a maker with his assurance that we need not worry about marauders, because whether he realizes it or not, he and his ilk are the marauders.

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Mark Caserta: Congress must unite to protect America

5 Mar

Who will stop Barack Hussein Obama?

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FSP EDITOR, MARK CASERTA

Mar. 05, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

President Obama made a remarkable statement in his sixth State of the Union address to the nation and a joint session of Congress – one which should have all Americans scratching their heads.

“America, for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: The shadow of crisis has passed.”

Could Obama really be that out of touch with reality?

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Later in the speech he added, “Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We have laid a new foundation.”

Our Founding Fathers provided us with an enduring foundation – the U.S Constitution. And brave men and women have given their lives through the years to preserve, protect and uphold this deed to freedom. America does not need to be “remade” by Barack Obama.

Hidden within the president’s own words lies what I believe to be the defining aspiration of Obama’s presidency. Every builder understands before laying a new foundation, the old one must be unearthed and deconstructed. All around us, the foundational principles of the United States of America are being dismantled by this administration’s policies.

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An in-depth look at Obama’s life mentors helps explain his apparent ideological distaste for America.

Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s former pastor of 20 years, was someone he equated to an “old uncle.” Known for his proliferation of black liberation theology, Wright encouraged blacks to damn America in God’s name in 2003. Obama entitled one of his books, “The Audacity of Hope” after one of Wright’s sermons.

In Obama’s book, “Dreams From My Father,” he writes about “a poet named Frank” who visited his family in Hawaii, read poetry, and was full of “hard-earned knowledge” and advice. This childhood mentor, mentioned at least 22 times in the book, was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party named Frank Marshall Davis. All references to “Frank” were removed from the audio version years later.

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And then there’s Obama’s longtime friend, left-wing radical Bill Ayers, who continues to defend the series of anti-Vietnam bombings he carried out as a member of the Weather Underground. A 1995 fundraiser which helped initiate the political career of Barack Obama was reportedly held in Ayer’s living room.

Why revisit history now? America is no longer at a crossroads; we’ve taken a hard left turn toward disaster.

According to several news reports, this administration is offering a pact to Iran which eases restrictions on its nuclear program in several phases over the next decade, paving the way for an Iranian nuclear weapons program. And, once again, Obama intends to bypass Congress in lieu of executive privilege.

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This president simply lacks the qualifications to single-handedly barter a deal with a rogue nation like Iran, one that threatens to bring about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East while alienating our ally, Israel.

It’s truly time for Democrats and Republicans alike to unite against Barack Obama and thwart his mission to remake America.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a

Mark Caserta: President wrong to ignore people’s will

19 Feb

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FSP EDITORIAL

Feb. 19, 2015 @ 12:01 AM
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President Obama seems to have his mind set on preventing the Keystone XL pipeline from ever being constructed, regardless of the truth about its environmental and economic impact.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill, by a vote of 270-152, to approve construction of the pipeline. That sets the stage for the first veto showdown of the new Congress with President Obama. Twenty-nine Democrats crossed party lines to vote in favor of the pipeline. The Senate approved the legislation in January by a 62-36 margin.

In passing this bill, Congress is rightfully representing the majority of Americans who now favor the pipeline, according to a recent CNN/ORC poll. Results showed 57 percent of Americans surveyed support the project while only 28 percent oppose it.

But far be it for Barack Obama to allow the will of the people to influence his executive decision-making for America. It’s been six years since TransCanada initially filed an application with the U.S. government to construct the multibillion-dollar pipeline, and the administration continues to assert it’s “studying the potential impact on the environment.”

Originally, liberal opponents of the pipeline were concerned with potential spillage as it transported an estimated 830,000 barrels of oil per day during its trek from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast of Texas. But the narrative now seems to have shifted to its impact on “climate change” through increased carbon emissions.

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Despite opponents’ attempts to minimize the jobs numbers, tens of thousands of construction jobs would be created. In fact, the State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact statement found the project would support more than 42,000 direct and indirect jobs nationwide. At the southern portion of the pipeline, which did not require Obama’s approval and is already built, 5,000 construction jobs already have been created, according to the Pipeline and Gas Journal.

With regard to spills or increased carbon emissions, pipelines are the safest mode of transporting oil and gas. After four comprehensive environmental reviews, the Department of State determined that the Keystone XL poses minimal environmental risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish and wildlife. State Department studies also concluded the climate effects of the pipeline would be minimal in that Canadian oil is coming out of the ground whether Keystone XL is built or not, so the difference in greenhouse gas emissions is miniscule.

It’s well known that Barack Obama’s loyalties lie with environmentalists and the myth of man-made global warming. But the Keystone XL pipeline would connect the largest, most sophisticated refining hub in the Gulf Coast with the third largest oil reserves on the planet. The U.S. would be closer to energy independence and less at risk from the increasing uncertainty of a volatile oil market.

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If President Obama continues to ignore the voice of the people and indeed vetoes this legislation, Congress must react with a presidential veto override, which requires two-thirds majority.

Interestingly, with the 2016 election on the horizon, legislators’ hearing seems to be improving. So now is the time to make your voice heard.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch.

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