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Obama to mandate steeper emissions cuts from US power plants

2 Aug

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2015 file photo, a plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H.  President Barack Obama on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, will unveil the final version of his unprecedented regulations clamping down on carbon dioxide emissions from existing U.S. power plants. The Obama administration first proposed the rule last year. Opponents plan to sue immediately to stop the rule's implementation. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

 In this Jan. 20, 2015 file photo, a plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H. President Barack Obama on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, will unveil the final version of his unprecedented regulations clamping down on carbon dioxide emissions from existing U.S. power plants. The Obama administration first proposed the rule last year. Opponents plan to sue immediately to stop the rule’s implementation. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

Aug 2, 5:01 AM (ET) By JOSH LEDERMANNEW YORK (AP)

President Barack Obama will impose even steeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants than previously expected, senior administration officials said Sunday, in what the president called the most significant step the U.S. has ever taken to fight global warming.

A year after proposing unprecedented carbon dioxide limits, Obama was poised to finalize the rule at a White House event on Monday. In a video posted to Facebook, Obama said the limits were backed up by decades of data showing that without tough action, the world will face more extreme weather and escalating health problems like asthma.

“Climate change is not a problem for another generation,” Obama said. “Not anymore.”

Opponents vowed to sue immediately, and planned to ask the courts to put the rule on hold while legal challenges play out. Many states have threatened not to comply.

In his initial proposal, Obama had mandated a 30 percent nationwide cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. The final version will require a 32 percent cut instead, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to comment by name and requested anonymity.

The final rule also gives states an additional two years — until 2022 — to comply, officials said, yielding to complaints that the original deadline was too soon. States will also have until 2018 instead of 2017 to submit their plans for how they’ll meet their targets.

But the administration will attempt to incentivize states to take action earlier by offering credits to states that boost renewable sources like wind and solar in 2020 and 2021, officials said.

The focus on renewables marks a significant shift from the earlier version that sought to accelerate the ongoing transition from coal-fired power to natural gas plants, which emit far less carbon dioxide. The revised rule aims to keep the share of natural gas in the nation’s power mix at current levels.

The stricter limits in the final plan were certain to incense energy industry advocates who had already balked at the more lenient limits in the proposed plan. But the Obama administration said its tweaks would cut energy costs and address concerns about power grid reliability.

The Obama administration previously predicted the emissions limits will cost up to $8.8 billion annually by 2030, although it said those costs would be far outweighed by health savings from fewer asthma attacks and other benefits. The actual price won’t be clear until states decide how they’ll reach their targets.

America’s largest source of greenhouse gases, power plants account for roughly one-third of all U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming. Obama’s rule assigns customized targets to each state, then leaves it up to the state to determine how to meet them.

In the works for years, the power plant rule forms the cornerstone of Obama’s plan to curb U.S. emissions and keep global temperatures from climbing, and its success is pivotal to the legacy Obama hopes to leave on climate change. Never before has the U.S. sought to restrict carbon dioxide from existing power plants.

By clamping down on power plant emissions, Obama is also working to increase his leverage and credibility with other nations whose commitments he’s seeking for a global climate treaty to be finalized later this year in Paris. As its contribution to that treaty, the U.S. has pledged to cut overall emissions 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025, compared to 2005.

Even before the rule was finalized, more than a dozen states announced plans to fight it. At the urging of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, some Republican governors have declared they simply won’t comply, setting up a certain confrontation with the Environmental Protection Agency, which by law can force its own plan on states that fail to submit implementation plans.

Yet even in many of those states, power companies and local utility authorities have started preparing to meet the targets. New, more efficient plants that are replacing older and dirtier ones have already pushed emissions down nearly 13 percent since 2005, putting them about halfway to meeting Obama’s goal.

In Congress, lawmakers have sought to use legislation to stop Obama’s regulation. McConnell has also tried previously to use an obscure, rarely successful maneuver to allow Congress to vote it down.

The more serious threat to Obama’s rule will likely come in the courts. The Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, which represents energy companies, said 20 to 30 states were poised to join with industry in suing over the rule. The Obama administration has a mixed track record in fending off legal challenges to its climate rules.

Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP

OBAMA WRITES TO FELONS; IGNORES FAMILY OF KATE STEINLE

15 Jul

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Nearly two weeks after 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle was murdered on San Francisco’s Pier 14 by an illegal alien and convicted felon who was released from prison earlier this year, President Barack Obama has failed to contact the victim’s family or mention her in public. Yet Obama took the time to write (and release) 46 personal letters this month to felons imprisoned for non-violent drug offenses whose sentences he has commuted.

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Like the 46 felons to whom Obama wrote, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez had served time for non-violent offenses, some of them drug-related. After his arrest, Lopez-Sanchez, who had been deported five times to Mexico, confessed to shooting Steinle as she walked with her family at the popular tourist spot.

Steinle’s murder quickly became an iconic example of violent crime by illegal aliens released from custody under the “sanctuary city” policies embraced by San Francisco and other liberal cities that decline to work with federal immigration officials.

Critics have noted that Obama was quick to reach out to the family of Michael Brown, who was killed while charging a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri last year, enhancing Brown’s heroic status to drive a political narrative. He has done the same in other, similar cases.

Mark Caserta: Obama transforming US with martial law

4 Jun

Is it part of his plan?

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Mark Caserta: Editor Free State Patriot

Jun. 04, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

When progressives begin to label conservatives as “neocons” and “conspiracy theorists,” we can generally be assured we’re on the right track. But liberal coddling of Barack Obama aside, we’d better become familiar with the facets of martial law and it’s reality in the U.S.

Martial law is an extreme measure whereby the government and military authorities exercise control over the civilian population of a designated territory. To a varying degree, and depending on the martial law order, certain civil liberties may be suspended, such as the right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, freedom of association and freedom of movement. In some cases the writ of habeas corpus, which allows persons unlawfully imprisoned to gain freedom through a court proceeding, may also be suspended.

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While martial law is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, the Supreme Court’s interpretation of Article 1, sections 8 and 9, declares that martial law, on a national level, must be declared by the president or Congress. If declared by a president, the “Posse Comitatus Act” of 1878, forbids military involvement in domestic law enforcement without congressional authorization.

It’s been argued that only Congress can declare martial law, since Congress alone is granted the power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. But as commander-in-chief of the military, it’s also been argued the president can autonomously declare martial law. However, if Congress rejects the president’s declaration, it could set up a power struggle between the Legislative and Executive Branch that only the Judiciary would be able to resolve.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Martial law has been instituted on a national level only one time in the United States. During the Civil War, Congress ratified most of the martial law measures declared by President Lincoln when he authorized Union military forces to arrest persons and conduct trials. Otherwise, the use of martial law has been limited to the states.

On the state level, a governor may declare martial law within their state as granted in the state constitution. Uprisings, political protests, labor strikes and riots have, at various times, caused several state governors to declare some measure of martial law.

Anyone believing the notion of martial law is far-fetched should consider the potential catastrophic scenarios this administration has already allowed to permeate U.S. borders. The Ebola virus, the threat of Islamic terrorism, and the potential financial collapse of our economy have all been heretofore avoided. And what if the welfare system crashed overnight and EBT and Medicaid/Medicare cards ceased to work? This financial impact on 35 percent of the population at the hands of government would not fare well.

Consider this: In September 2013, 70 federal agents in full body armor, carrying M-16s, raided the tiny Alaska gold mining town of Chicken, Alaska. They were from the Environmental Protection Agency looking for violations of the Clean Water Act!

Barack Obama hasn’t been very good at keeping his word, but he has successfully kept his focus on a singular objective – “fundamentally transform America.”

He now has only 19 months left to achieve it.

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

Mark Caserta: Common Core is nationalized education and frustrating our children.

16 Apr

Heart-wrenching Viral Photo Of Frustrated Little Girl Shows What Common Core Does To Children

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It’s time for this failed liberal experiment to END!

https://commoncore.act.freedomworks.org/?source=02171514day#primary_form

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Free State Patriot Editor, Mark Caserta

Apr. 16, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

Abe Lincoln once said, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”

Truer words were never spoken. For years progressives have sought ways to infiltrate the classroom at an early age to begin the indoctrination of liberalism. Their methodology has been to sow seeds of discontent with current standards while proposing a “progressive” alternative. Typically, this liberal solution involves more government control and fewer individual rights.

For those less informed, the Common Core State Standards Initiative appears to be the result of years of exhaustive and collaborative effort aimed at raising the achievement levels of students across the country.

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But for those focused on reality, Common Core is a premeditated, liberal attack on states’ and parents’ rights to control local education. All across America, concerned parents and students are refusing to participate in new tests aligned with the Common Core state standards.

“The explosive growth of the opt-out movement has been one extremely encouraging development in a sea of bad news when it comes to government education in the United States,” said Alex Newman, international journalist and educator, in a World Net Daily interview. “As more and more parents and teachers realize what is going on with Common Core, I expect this movement to continue growing by leaps and bounds.”

Newman, who co-authored the book, “Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children,” views Common Core as profound government overreach into our lives.

“There is no doubt that this Obama scheme to nationalize education is designed not to educate children properly, but to shape their minds with propaganda and reduce their critical thinking abilities for nefarious purposes,” Newman said.

And indeed, this apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Common Core standards stem from a 2008 task force created by then Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (Barack Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security from 2009-2013) as a result of her apparent dissatisfaction with the U.S. school system’s ability to “adequately prepare” students for entering the workforce. Napolitano’s group of governors and recognized “experts” in higher education prepared a report that would eventually serve as the building blocks for Common Core.

Now the curricula issues and potential unintended consequences tied to Common Core are so vast, it would be impossible to adequately address them in this venue. But this attempted liberal coup on public education is apparent.

Common Core, as defined on its website, is a “set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy which defines what students should know and be able to do each grade.” The entire Common Core conception narrows the purpose of public education to “college and career readiness” and excludes the foundational principles our state constitutions give for establishing an educational system led by parents and local educators.

Clearly, this proposed set of standards is an attempt by progressives to control states’ and parents’ rights where educating our children is concerned. Liberals simply want a greater presence in the classroom.

Common Core grants them that presence.

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

Iran Accuses U.S. of Lying About New Nuke Agreement

2 Apr

One executive failure after another…

Says White House misleading Congress, American people with fact sheet

Javad Zarif

Javad Zarif / AP

BY:
April 2, 2015 5:40 pm

 LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Just hours after the announcement of what the United States characterized as a historic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, the country’s leading negotiator lashed out at the Obama administration for lying about the details of a tentative framework.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people and Congress in a fact sheet it released following the culmination of negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

Zarif bragged in an earlier press conference with reporters that the United States had tentatively agreed to let it continue the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, as well as key nuclear research.

Zarif additionally said Iran would have all sanctions lifted once a final deal is signed and that the country would not be forced to shut down any of its currently operating nuclear installations.

Following a subsequent press conference by Secretary of State John Kerry—and release of a administration fact sheet on Iranian concessions—Zarif lashed out on Twitter over what he dubbed lies.

“The solutions are good for all, as they stand,” he tweeted. “There is no need to spin using ‘fact sheets’ so early on.”

Zarif went on to push back against claims by Kerry that the sanctions relief would be implemented in a phased fashion—and only after Iran verifies that it is not conducting any work on the nuclear weapons front.

Zarif, echoing previous comments, said the United States has promised an immediate termination of sanctions.

“Iran/5+1 Statement: ‘US will cease the application of ALL nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions.’ Is this gradual?” he wrote on Twitter.

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He then suggested a correction: “Iran/P5+1 Statement: ‘The EU will TERMINATE the implementation of ALL nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions’. How about this?”

The pushback from Iran’s chief diplomat follows a pattern of similar accusations by senior Iranian political figures after the announcement of previous agreements.

Following the signing of an interim agreement with Iran aimed at scaling back its nuclear work, Iran accused the United States of lying about details of the agreement.

On Thursday evening, Zarif told reporters the latest agreement allows Iran to keep operating its nuclear program.

“None of those measures” that will move to scale back Iran’s program “include closing any of our facilities,” Zarif said. “We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development.”

“Our heavy water reactor will be modernized and we will continue the Fordow facility,” Zarif said. “We will have centrifuges installed in Fordow, but not enriching.”

The move to allow Iran to keep centrifuges at Fordow, a controversial onetime military site, has elicited concern that Tehran could ramp up its nuclear work with ease.

Zarif said that once a final agreement is made, “all U.S. nuclear related secondary sanctions will be terminated,” he said. “This, I think, would be a major step forward.”

Zarif also revealed that Iran will be allowed to sell “enriched uranium” in the international market place and will be “hopefully making some money” from it.

 Iran Says Nuclear Deal Hinges on U.S. Will to Lift Sanctions
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday, a deal on Iran’s nuclear program could be concluded this week if the United States and other Western countries have sufficient political will and agree to remove sanctions on Tehran. He said in Geneva, “Our negotiating partners, particularly the Western countries and particularly the United States, must once and for all come to the understanding that sanctions and agreement don’t go together.”
Inform

Mark Caserta: Obama’s actions expose his convictions

26 Mar

They also expose his priorities.

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Free State Patriot Editor, Mark Caserta

Mar. 26, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

In their first Oval Office meeting in 2009, President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shook hands and agreed to do everything possible to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

Since that time, U.S. relations with our longtime ally in the Middle East have gotten “progressively” worse while the prospects for a nuclear-armed Iran are heightening.

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Rather than choosing to foster our 60-year friendship with the Jewish State and living up to his promise of support, Obama has proceeded to ostracize Israel and barter with her enemies. This dangerous shift of support has emboldened anti-Semitic nations by muddying the political waters where U.S. support of Israel is concerned.

But a recent show of diplomatic ineptness by Obama may have delivered an irreparable blow to relations between Israel and the United States, at least for the duration of his presidency.

And two years is a very long time.

Shortly after Obama delivered his 2015 State of the Union address, House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress. The move was perceived by Democrats as a rebuke to the president’s repeated threat to veto new sanctions against Iran and disrupt negotiations with Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. But to Republicans, the move was necessary to avoid a very poor deal which would result in a potential nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

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Obama’s decision not to meet with Netanyahu during his visit to the U.S. was met with great disdain and questioned by many on Capitol Hill. But the White House defended the move as standard operating procedure.

“As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan. “Accordingly, the president will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu because of the proximity to the Israeli election, which is just two weeks after his planned address to the U.S. Congress.”

But many believe that not only did the Obama administration not adhere to principle by avoiding influencing the Israeli election, they may have attempted to manipulate its outcome.

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A bipartisan Senate committee is now investigating the possibility the Obama administration may have aided efforts to defeat Prime Minister Netanyahu in last week’s election. Reportedly, the investigation focuses on State Department grants to a non-profit group that has been leading field organizing efforts openly aimed at replacing Netanyahu’s conservative government with a “center-left” coalition.

Obama’s actions, besides being nave and adolescent, betray his convictions. For what purpose does Obama seek to pave the way for a nuclear-armed Iran? And in what world can Iran be trusted with a nuclear weapon? It would almost certainly result in a third World War!

It’s past time for a bipartisan effort by Congress to rein in this president’s radical agenda.

The world is, indeed, on fire. And Barack Obama is fanning the flames.

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

Mark Caserta: Obama’s denial emboldens terrorists

12 Feb
 Why will this president go to any length to protect the Islamic religion?
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FSP Editorial
Feb. 12, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

Displaying a level of brutality, shocking even by the standards of the previous horrific murders committed by the Islamic terrorist group ISIS, First Lieutenant Muath al Kaseasbeh, a Jordanian pilot, was recently burned alive inside a locked cage in the name of radical Islam. The barbarous act, which shocked the world, clearly defined the group’s willingness to viciously propagate the violent extremism of the Islamic State.

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But two days later, rather than simply condemn the act as a violent display of Islamic terrorism, Barack Hussein Obama used the bully pulpit at the National Prayer breakfast to persuade the world that violence rooted in religion isn’t exclusive to Islam, but has been carried out by Christians as well. In fact, he compared the ISIS atrocity to violent acts committed by Christians in the Crusades. He also said Christ was used as justification for slavery and radical discrimination in the United States.

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ,” the president said.

The comments were considered outrageous to many.

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“The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” said former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore, a Republican. “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States. This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”

Catholic League’s Bill Donohue says Obama should apologize for using the Crusades as an example of “terrible acts” by Christians, saying the crusades fought against Islamic jihad.

“The president should apologize for his insulting comparison,” Donohue said. “Obama’s ignorance is astounding and his comparison is pernicious.”

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Now, this president has always dismissed the idea of American exceptionalism. And frankly, his decision over the past six years to have the White House avoid the term “radical Islam” has brought to question Obama’s loyalty to America and the foundational principles on which our great nation was built.

Yet, anyone honestly assessing terrorism can easily conclude that Islamic extremism is at the very heart of murder and destruction in the world today. In fact, according to the non-partisan website, The Religion of Peace, over the last 40 years there have been 74 attacks on American soil by Islamic terrorists resulting in the murder of thousands of innocent people. We just simply don’t see attacks of this magnitude in the name of any other religion.

Let’s be clear. Islamic terrorism is flourishing under this president’s rule. His purposeful choice not to properly identify our enemy is indeed emboldening their mission.

As Obama continues to reject the notion that America is in a religious war based on the fundamental beliefs of the Islamic State, American’s lives are increasingly being placed at risk.

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

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