Tag: Decision

Psycho Leftist Harry Reid Silent On Decision To Block Bipartisan IG-Empowering Bill

Reid Silent On Baffling Decision To Block Bipartisan IG-Empowering Bill – Daily Caller

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Senate Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid refuses to say why for months he has blocked a bipartisan bill designed to ensure inspectors general access all of the official documents they need to fight waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government.

Three months ago, the Nevada senator blocked an attempt to pass Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s IG Empowerment Act with unanimous consent, which would make it crystal clear that the 1978 Inspector General Act gives presidentially appointed IGs authority to access all agency records for investigations and audits.

Reid still refuses to change his position or explain his objections. A spokesman for Reid did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for an explanation of Reid’s opposition to the bill. The measure is co-sponsored by Democratic senators Tammy Baldwin and Claire McCaskill.

“I cannot imagine anything controversial about wanting inspectors general to have access to the people and documents they need to do their jobs for the American people,” Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, another co-sponsor of the bill and chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, told TheDCNF.

“Americans deserve a transparent and accountable government, and, this being Sunshine Week, it is particularly concerning that Minority Leader Reid refuses to disclose why these bipartisan, commonsense reforms are being blocked,” Johnson said.

The FBI began denying or delaying records sought in 2010 by the Department of Justice IG after the watchdog published several reports that were highly critical of the bureau. The FBI’s refusals contradicted the 1978 law granting IGs access to “all” agency records, but other agencies quickly followed the bureau’s lead.

The Peace Corps, for example, denied its IG access to data on sexual assaults against Peace Corps members serving abroad, and Environmental Protection Agency officials claimed attorney-client privilege to block the IG from obtaining sensitive records.

Forty-seven inspectors general wrote to members of Congress in August 2014, asking them to protect their independence and access.

Adding to the tension, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) concluded in July 2015 the FBI can withhold wiretapping, surveillance and credit records from its IG.

Grassley introduced the IG Empowerment Act to serve as a final clarification that Congress sides with watchdog access and accountable government over agencies.

“Congress established inspectors general to be watchdogs on federal agencies, to ensure the government is serving the American people in a fair, upstanding and efficient manner,” Grassley told TheDCNF. “Congress gave these watchdogs authority to review all agency records to effectively do their job. Leave it, though, to the bureaucracy to twist the meaning of the simple three-letter word: all. Denying access to all records – access that Congress created – prevents IGs from fully protecting the American people from fraud, waste and misconduct in government.”

Reid shot down this seemingly uncontroversial bill on behalf of himself and other members, but refused to say why. Senate rules in a unanimous consent procedure require opposing members to identify themselves and state their reasons.

“Other senators are concerned about it, and I lead the objection on my behalf,” Reid said on the Senate floor in December. But he did not identify those senators or describe their concerns.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, hasn’t brought the measure back to the floor in the months since Reid’s blocking manuever. A McConnell spokesman said no vote is scheduled before the current session draws to a close.

Until Congress acts, agencies will continue to thwart transparency and accountability, Elizabeth Hempowicz, public policy director for the Project on Government Oversight, told TheDCNF.

“This bill is still extremely important, I would say even more important now than it was when it was first introduced,” Hempowicz said. “Every day that goes by without action from Congress to undo the OLC opinion from last July stating that DOJ IG does not have unfettered access to all of the agency’s documents bolsters that opinion and undermines IGs across the government. Until Congress passes the bill, that memo can be and has been used to block oversight.”

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9 Reasons Why Obama Just Made Wrong Decision On Keystone Pipeline (Nicolas Loris)

9 Reasons Why Obama Just Made Wrong Decision On Keystone Pipeline – Nicolas Loris

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It took President Barack Obama only 2,604 days to reject the permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline.

In a statement today, Obama said the pipeline “would not serve the national interest of the United States.”

“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” Obama added. “And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”

Former Obama administration Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu hit the nail on the head: “The decision on whether the construction should happen was a political one and not a scientific one.”

Here are the top nine reasons Obama is wrong on Keystone XL.
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1.) Jobs and economic growth. Opponents will minimize the job numbers, saying that the pipeline will create only “a handful” of permanent jobs – and that’s correct. In his speech Obama said, “So if Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it.” But here’s what that argument misses: the tens of thousands of construction jobs that the pipeline project will create. In fact, simply building the southern portion – which didn’t need Obama’s approval – has already created 4,000 construction jobs. And if opponents are dismissive of Keystone XL, they should be dismissive of all construction projects, as they’re all temporary – because they’re construction jobs. Further, Keystone XL would add economic value, transport an important energy resource efficiently, and result in billions of dollars of tax revenue for states it runs through.

2.) Stable supply of oil from an important trading partner that will lower gas prices. The pipeline would carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, where U.S. refineries are already equipped to handle heavier crudes. The pipeline will efficiently provide supply from a secure source and a friendly and important trading partner. Contra Obama’s claim today that “the pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers,” increased oil supplies will lower gas prices, though the impact may be small.

3.) Safest mode of getting oil and gas to Americans. Many in the United States live near a pipeline without even knowing about it. America has more than 500,000 miles of crude oil, petroleum, and natural gas pipelines and another 2 million miles of natural gas distribution pipelines. When it comes to accidents, injuries, and fatalities, pipelines are the safest mode of transporting oil and gas.

4.) Should be a business decision, not a government one. In concluding with Secretary of State John Kerry’s assessment that the project would not be in the national interest, Obama said, “The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy.” It is not the role of the federal government to make that determination. The federal government shouldn’t make that determination with the construction of a new restaurant or boutique shop. And it shouldn’t make that determination with a pipeline. After the State Department concluded that the pipeline was environmentally safe, the decision to build Keystone XL should have been a business decision – not a government one.

5.) We’ve done this before. The Keystone XL Pipeline is just a portion of the larger Keystone Pipeline System. You can view a map of the entire system here. Unbeknownst to many is the fact that the U.S. has already granted one of those presidential permits for the Keystone Pipeline System. For phase I of the Keystone Pipeline System, TransCanada filed an application with the Department of State (DOS) in April 2006, and the department began an environmental review in September 2006. TransCanada received its presidential permit for phase I in March 2008. From beginning to end, the process took 23 months. It has taken 86 months for Obama to say no.

6.) Environmentally safe. It was Albert Einstein who said the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The State Department must be teetering on the edge of insanity, because after multiple environmental reviews concluding that Keystone XL poses minimal environmental risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, and wildlife, the Obama administration still rejected the permit application.

7.) Negligible climate impact. In a speech in June 2013, Obama said the climate effects of Keystone XL would have a major impact on the administration’s decision. These effects, however, would be minimal. The State Department’s final environmental impact statement concludes that the Canadian oil is coming out of the ground whether Keystone XL is built or not, so the difference in greenhouse gas emissions is minuscule. No matter your position on climate change, Keystone XL won’t make a difference.

8.) Can be built without the help of the taxpayer. Building and operating Keystone XL will result in real private-sector jobs that will grow the U.S. economy. This is very different from the president’s taxpayer-funded green jobs plan that merely siphons resources out of the market and forces pricier energy on the American public.

9.) The people want it. Lots of people want it. A CNN poll in the beginning of the year found that 57 percent of Americans support the project, while just 28 percent oppose it. Many unions want it. Former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar called the project a “win-win.” Congress sent a bill to Obama’s desk, demonstrating their will to approve the project. Sadly, the Obama administration is catering to the small group of radical environmental activists who don’t want the pipeline.

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Last April, the Washington Post slammed the Obama administration’s continued delay of a Keystone XL decision, calling it “absurd” and “embarrassing.” Rejecting the permit application is even more absurd and more embarrassing.

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More Bad News For Leftist SEIU

SEIU Hemorrhages Members After Supreme Court Decision – Washington Free Beacon

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One of Washington state’s largest unions lost thousands of dues paying members in the wake of a Supreme Court decision barring automatic enrollment of home healthcare workers in the union, according to a new report.

The Freedom Foundation, a think tank in Washington, found that thousands of the workers, many of whom were caring for family members, dropped out of the union after the state ended forced unionism last year. Federal labor filings from Service Employees International Union Local 925 revealed that more than 3,000 of the 7,000 home healthcare workers previously in the union cut ties with the local in 2015.

“Nearly half of Washington’s approximately 7,000 family child care providers have exercised their newly acknowledged rights and left SEIU 925 since the Harris decision. The percentage of providers paying dues to the union fell from 100 percent in July 2014 to 53.2 percent (3,738) in May 2015,” the report said.

SEIU Local 925 represents mostly public sector workers. Prior to the Quinn v. Harris ruling, the union was able to corral home healthcare workers who received tax breaks and Medicaid dollars from the state. The high court declared a similar arrangement in Illinois unconstitutional, leading Washington to end the practice.

“Pas [Personal Aides] are much different from public employees,” Justice Samuel Alito ruled in the 5-4 decision. “Unlike full-fledged public employees, PAs are almost entirely answerable to the customers and not to the State, do not enjoy most of the rights and benefits that inure to state employees, and are not indemnified by the State for claims against them arising from actions taken during the course of their employment.”

Local 925 charges members nearly 2 percent of their salaries for dues with a cap of $90 per month, according to federal labor filings released in March. The union collected more than $8 million and spent more than $1.2 million on political activities and lobbying in 2014. Local 925 actually saw its ranks swell overall in 2014 despite the loss of home healthcare workers, growing from 13, 835 members to 14,405 in 2014.

The union did not respond to request for comment.

Freedom Foundation labor policy expert Maxford Nelsen said that the massive withdrawals followed an education and outreach effort by the group.

“Neither SEIU 925 nor the state took action to inform family child care providers of their constitutional right to resign from the union. The Freedom Foundation obtained providers’ contact information from the state in October 2014 and, after defeating a subsequent legal challenge from SEIU 925 in court, began a wide-ranging educational campaign to inform providers of their ability to opt-out of the union,” Nelson wrote on the foundation’s website. “To date, the effort has included direct mail, email, phone calls, cable TV advertising and door-to-door canvassing.”

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Megyn Kelly Verbally Bitchslaps Lying Leftists Over Hobby Lobby Decision (Video)

HAH! Megyn Kelly Destroys Jon Stewart & Lib Cranks Misleading On Hobby Lobby Decision – Gateway Pundit

Nobody does it better…

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Megyn Kelly absolutely destroyed Jon Stewart and the liberal cranks who are misleading the American public on the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision.

Via The Kelly File:

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The Blaze wrote about the left’s many lies on the Hobby Lobby decision.

The Washington Post faulted several Democratic lawmakers for less-than-truthful assertions about the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, most of which implied that employers could prevent employees from buying contraception.

The 5-4 court majority actually ruled that closely held companies cannot be forced to pay for select types of contraceptives for employees.

Since some Democrats – including party leaders Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California – confessed to misspeaking, and others stated they were expressing an opinion, the Post’s Fact Checker said it would not count the comments as outright lies.

“But this collection of rhetoric suggests that Democrats need to be more careful in their language about the ruling,” the Post noted. “All too often, lawmakers leap to conclusions that are not warranted by the facts at hand. Simply put, the court ruling does not outlaw contraceptives, does not allow bosses to prevent women from seeking birth control and does not take away a person’s religious freedom.”

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Arkansas Supreme Court Overrules Leftist Judge’s Anti-Voter ID Decision

Arkansas Court Voids Judge’s Decision Against Voter ID Law – New York Post

The Arkansas Supreme Court has tossed out a judge’s ruling striking down the state’s voter ID law, but stopped short of ruling on the constitutionality of the measure.

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Justices on Wednesday vacated a Pulaski County judge’s decision that the law violates Arkansas’ constitution. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox had struck down the law in a case that had focused on how absentee ballots are handled under the law, but justices stayed his ruling while they considered an appeal.

Justices said Fox didn’t have the authority to strike down the law in the case focusing on absentee ballots.

Fox has also ruled the law unconstitutional in a separate case, but said he wouldn’t block its enforcement during this month’s primary. That ruling is also being appealed to the high court.

Arkansas is amid early voting ahead of next Tuesday’s primary.

The ruling comes as voter ID laws are being challenged throughout the nation. Though 31 states have laws in effect requiring voters to show some form of identification, Arkansas’ in one of the strictest in the nation. Seven other states have photo ID requirements in effect similar to Arkansas.

A federal judge in Wisconsin struck down that state’s voter ID law last month, and Pennsylvania’s governor has said he wouldn’t appeal a judge’s recent ruling striking down his state’s voter ID law. President Barack Obama last month waded into the voter ID debate, accusing Republicans of using restrictions to keep voters from the polls and jeopardizing 50 years of expanded voting access for millions of black Americans and other minorities.

Republicans backing voter ID laws in Arkansas and elsewhere have said the efforts are aimed at preventing voter fraud and protecting the integrity of the election process.

Under previous law in Arkansas, election workers were required to ask for photo ID but voters didn’t have to show it to cast a ballot. Under the new law, voters who don’t show photo identification can cast provisional ballots. Those ballots are counted only if voters provide ID to county election officials before noon on the Monday after an election, sign an affidavit stating they are indigent or have a religious objection to being photographed.

Arkansas’ law took effect Jan. 1 and had been used in some local elections this year. This month’s primary is the first statewide test of the new law.

The case had initially focused on rules for absentee ballots under the voter ID law. The Pulaski County Election Commission sued the state Board of Election Commissioners for adopting a rule that gives absentee voters additional time to show proof of ID. The rule allows voters who did not submit required identification with their absentee ballot to turn in the documents for their vote to be counted by noon Monday following an election. It mirrors an identical “cure period” the law gives to voters who fail to show identification at the polls.

Fox’s ruling had been stayed by the state Supreme Court, but the high court declined to stay Fox’s decision to strike down the state board’s rule giving absentee voters additional time.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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ATF Swiftly Reverses Decision To Approve Powdered Alcohol Product

Powdered Alcohol Will Be Banned, Says ATF As It Reverses Decision Amid Fears Product Could Be Smuggled Into Sports Events And Concerts – Daily Mail

A new powdered alcohol product announced just days ago has had its approval promptly reversed following a barrage of negative publicity surrounding fears that it could encourage irresponsible – and even underage – drinking.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved Palcohol’s powdered vodka, rum, and other cocktails ‘in error,’ Tom Hogue, the agency’s director of congressional and public affairs, told The Associated Press via email. The agency did not respond to further questions.

The company behind Palcohol, Tempe, Arizona-based Lipsmark, said that ‘there seemed to be a discrepancy [about] how much powder’ is in the packets, which are meant to be mixed with water.

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According to the website for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, multiple varieties of Palcohol received ‘label approval’ on April 8.

Palcohol had previously announced six varieties of powdered alcohol, including vodka, rum and four cocktails – Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Powderita and Lemon Drop.

The company agreed to surrender its approvals on Monday and has said that it will resubmit the product for approval by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

No sooner had Palcohol announced its initial products than critics where questioning the potential dangers of a powered form of alcohol which could fit into a pocket, making it more portable than a bottle or flask of liquor.

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The company initially did little to discourage these fears as the Palcohol website featured a lot of information on how the product could be used to consume alcohol in unusual ways and little about promoting ‘responsible drinking’.

‘Maybe you’re a college football fan. So many stadiums don’t even serve alcohol. What’s that about; watching football without drinking?! That’s almost criminal. Bring Palcohol in and enjoy the game,’ stated the website.

As well as adding the alcoholic power to water, the site also suggested that Palcohol could be poured over food.

‘Sprinkle Palcohol on almost any dish and give it an extra kick. Some of our favorites are the Kamikaze in guacamole, Rum on a BBQ sandwich, Cosmo on a salad and Vodka on eggs in the morning to start your day off right.’

There were even some rudimentary cooking instructions: ‘Remember, you have to add Palcohol AFTER a dish is cooked as the alcohol will burn off if you cook with it… and that defeats the whole purpose.’

The company also appeared to be encouraging users to try snorting their product: ‘You’ll get drunk almost instantly because the alcohol will be absorbed so quickly in your nose.’

Those posts were quickly taken down and the company claims it was simply experimenting with ‘edgy marketing’ that wasn’t meant to be seen by the public.

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‘As Palcohol is a new product, we have yet to understand its potential of being added to food,’ the website now states, along with warning people that the powder shouldn’t be snorted.

According to the site, the product’s founder Mark Phillips came up with the idea because he is an ‘active guy’ and wanted a way to enjoy an adult beverage after long hours hiking, biking or camping without having to carry around heavy bottles.

‘What we can say now is that we hope the product will be used in a responsible and legal manner. Being in compliance with all Federal and State laws is very important to us. Palcohol will only be sold through establishments that are licensed to sell liquor.’

Powdered alcohol is not a new concept. Such products are already being sold in other countries including Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands.

According to some, alcohol laws would in general only apply to liquids.

This would mean that powder-based alcoholic beverages could be sold to minors and that the powder would be exempt from alcohol tax and laws, as is the case with certain products in the Netherlands.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Obama’s EPA Changes The Borders Of Wyoming; Governor Mead Appeals Decision

EPA Changes The Borders Of Wyoming; Governor Appeals Decision – Gateway Pundit

Just when you think that the EPA can’t get any more out of control, it decides to change the border of a state.

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According to an article on Trib.com, the EPA overturned a 1905 Federal Law by expanding the Wind River Indian Reservation:

CHEYENNE – Gov. Matt Mead’s administration is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to freeze implementation of its recent decision that more than 1 million acres around Riverton remains legally Indian Country.

Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael wrote Monday to national EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Regional Administrator Shawn McGrath in Denver asking them to reconsider the agency’s decision.

The EPA ruled last month that a 1905 federal law opening part of the Wind River Indian Reservation to settlement by non-Indians didn’t extinguish the land’s reservation status.

The EPA addressed the reservation boundary issue in its decision last month that granted an application from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. The tribes had applied to have the reservation treated as a separate state under the federal Clean Air Act.

Wyoming’s Governor, Matt Mead, says he will fight the decision and is concerned that a Federal Agency assumes it has the power to alter a state’s boundaries:

Mead has pledged to challenge the EPA decision in federal court. The state’s request to the EPA to halt implementation of its decision could help the state if it later asks the court to block the agency’s decision while the appeal plays out.

“My deep concern is about an administrative agency of the federal government altering a state’s boundary and going against over 100 years of history and law,” Mead said. “This should be a concern to all citizens because, if the EPA can unilaterally take land away from a state, where will it stop?”

If you agree with the decision or not, the EPA does not have the power to adjust the borders of a state. The proper places for such a decision are either in the legislative branch or the judicial branch. To me this is an obvious abuse of a power the EPA wrongly assumes it has…

Read more of the story at Trib.com.

UPDATE!

It seems that the Trib.com has pulled their article since this story was published on the Gateway Pundit (The links are now dead).

Luckily I found an article on the Daily Caller with information on this story.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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