My parents were hippies, so protestors occupy a soft spot in my heart. There’s something uplifting about people so committed to a cause they’re will to march around holding signs, let themselves be chained to a tree, or even get locked into some kind of weird device that looks like it belongs in a horror film.
Politicians aren’t quite as dramatic which I suppose makes them more dangerous. It certainly makes them less endearing than the Birkenstock-wearing crowd while advancing legislative proposals that are more about fearmongering than facts.
Either way, tugging at heartstrings is a good way to get in the press, especially where the more than 1,000 Superfund sites across the United States are concerned. These are places where toxic materials were buried – either illegally or because no one at the time knew better – and have to be cleaned up under authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In the case of West Lake Landfill, a Superfund site just outside St. Louis, Missouri, a curious thing has occurred. The political left – which would usually move heaven and earth in favor of site clean-up issues – is actually keeping this one site from being remediated.
This is not fake news. Environmentalists are actually preventing the West Lake site from being cleaned-up because the government won’t do it their way.
Having land you own under the supervision of the EPA is usually a nightmare for business. It costs time and money and sometimes people end up going to court. In this case things haven’t been so bad. The soil in and around the landfill has been studied, the dangers from the radiological materials buried there have been evaluated, and plans have been discussed.
Admittedly the whole process has taken far too long – about 30 years — but just when it looked like the EPA was on the right track and was ready to start on a plan that would secure the site for the long-term, isolate the contaminants, and have it all paid for by the company that owns the property the environmental groups began raising objections. They’ve been putting roadblock after roadblock in front of the process. They have drafted politicians to their cause, they’ve enlisted the support of unions, they’ve even called on the United Nations to intervene — all the while using the tactics of community organizers like Saul Alinksy to spread fear, distrust, and junk science throughout the the community of people living nearby.
The latest development is a proposal that would literally offer a buyout to nearly ever homeowner living near the site.
When I first heard about this piece of legislation I hoped it was merely a messaging bill – a public relations ploy to raise awareness of the need for a clean-up. Except it passed the Missouri Senate by a vote of 30 to 3, hopefully because those voting “aye” didn’t understand what they were voting for. The science doesn’t back up their reasoning; if it did it could lead, eventually, to an argument for a bailout of tens of thousands of Missouri homeowners living near sites that one environmental group or another declares to be toxic.
That would be a pretty hefty Show Me State price tag.
Despite the fear, the science says the neighboring community is safe, According to a recent article from the local CBS affiliate:
The Environmental Protection Agency has previously said that despite radioactive waste and an underground fire at the (nearby) Bridgeton Landfill, there’s no increased risk for neighboring residents. The agency also hasn’t found evidence that radioactive material has migrated beyond the landfill.
We don’t have to take the EPA’s word for it. Science, good science, backs them up. Most of the soil sampled around the landfill is less radioactivethan anywhere in Missouri, and by a considerable factor. When I say “most,” every sample showed merely 25 percent of the contamination any Missouri resident would expect find in their front yard. There’s only one exception, and that one was just 6 percent higher. On this data alone Missouri Senators have voted to spend up to $12.5 million to buy the houses of people living in just one development near West Lake landfill. .
Last year, at the urging of the left, who insisted science is more like a data lottery, the EPA announced even more community testing. The results have not yet been announced but there is little reason to believe they will show anything different than previous federal or state studies have shown.
Why did the Senate need to rush through a vote before the data they knew was coming was in? Almost none of the politics around West Lake Landfill makes sense. The facts are easy – waste from the Manhattan Project was illegally dumped there decades ago. The waste was found, and the site was deemed a Superfund Site. Years later the EPA finally figured out a plan. But, the facts and the actions don’t match in this case. When the left didn’t like the EPA’s plan – it didn’t require the use of Union labor is one my guesses – they started doing everything that they can to delay, impede, and throw temper tantrums.
If the left just wanted to have a drum circle and sing some songs – I am game. My goodness, nowadays they protest so much I mark the days when they aren’t protesting. But, when the left wants to impede the progress of cleaning up and securing a toxic waste site as well as spending money that could be used to build infrastructure or educate children based on nothing, then count me out. It’s not groovy.
Frontiers of Freedom President, George Landrith, released the following statement on the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act:
“Frontiers of Freedom applauds the introduction of the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act. This legislation — which has strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate — is an important, positive and necessary first step towards a more effective and modernized US Copyright Office.”
“As it is currently organized, the Copyright Office structure is more than 120 years old and designed for a time when intellectual property rights were just beginning to be widely recognized as an important economic driver. Now, copyright dependent industries account for 5.5 million jobs and contribute more than $1.2 trillion to GDP. The time for modernization is now. This legislation begins that important process.”
“This legislation provides that the head of the US Copyright Office, known as the Register of Copyrights would not merely be a staff position at the Library of Congress, but rather would be nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the US Senate, thereby elevating the Register to better reflect important economic sector the Office administers
“This is an important and needed first step to make the US Copyright Office work more effectively. America has led the world in creativity and innovation. That has fueled our economic health and strength. Moving forward, intellectual property will play an even bigger role in our economy and it makes sense that the Copyright Office should be prepared to facilitate that growth. A predicate to the continued success of the creative economy is an independent Register who understands and appreciates the importance of intellectual property in a vibrant, modern economy. It also ensures that the Register is accountable to the People through their elected representatives.”
“This legislation begins this important modernization process and is supported by leaders in both political parties and in both houses precisely because it is clearly what is needed to strengthen our creative and innovative economy.”
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As many large-scale federal government reforms continue to be considered, there’s hope that our elected leaders can advance new laws that reflect principles of limited government and traditional American values to help the nation succeed. In the case of the latest Postal Reform, however, Republicans are regrettably ushering in a bill that is lacking far too many conservative ideals.
Last month, we wrote about the Postal Reform Act of 2017, and highlighted how the bill fails to solve the agency’s fiscal woes that have led to multi-billion dollar losses year after year, and further neglects the USPS’ most prominent customers that it was founded to serve. The proposal also disregards conservative ideals by creating a taxpayer-funded bailout of the Postal Service by absolving their unfunded liabilities and shifting Postal retirees to Medicare. Continue reading
Dear Vice President-Elect Pence:
It has come to our attention that a number of Departments and independent agencies are working furiously behind closed doors to bring significant, legally tenuous litigation against American business interests before January 20, 2017. Doing so will saddle the Trump Administration with having to litigate cases based on job crushing liberal legal theories. Such “midnight litigation,” particularly litigation that does not concern imminent threats to health or safety, must receive the strictest of scrutiny from the transition, and we urge the new Administration in the strongest possible terms not to treat such litigation with deference.
We have long been concerned about “midnight regulation” – regulations promulgated in the waning days of a lame duck administration. Because of this concern, Congress enacted the Congressional Review Act, which provides Congress procedural tools to disapprove expeditiously these last ditch midnight regulations. Congress, however, has no authority over litigation brought by the Executive Branch, and it will be incumbent upon the Trump Administration to decide whether to continue to pursue such cases.
President-elect Trump promised to “make American great again” and successfully argued that a rigged system has stymied growth, competitiveness and opportunity. This is due in no small measure to the Obama Administration’s war on business, which was again made apparent only days ago with the President’s executive action to ban offshore oil drilling in areas of the Artic and Atlantic Oceans. The mountains of regulations promulgated by the current Administration are a key reason economic growth has been dismally low. Litigation is another form of executive action that can have similar devastating impacts on American jobs and competitiveness and should be reviewed in the same manner that the Transition is reviewing regulations.
Should the Obama Administration bring non-routine, last minute, legally unorthodox midnight litigation, your Administration should not hesitate to withdraw immediately from that litigation. In such circumstances, the new Administration should not be constrained by notions of deference and should not support suspect legal theories that could have devastating economic effects for decades to come.
We appreciate the difficult work ahead of you and wish you the best as you continue to prepare to undo the damage of the last eight years.
Frontiers of Freedom
Americans for Tax Reform
The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell
Constitutional Congress, Inc.
Richard A. Viguerie
The Weyrich Lunch
National Tax Limitation Committee
Tea Party Patriots
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
C. Preston Noell III
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
The Last Best Hope on Earth Institute
Maryland Taxpayers Association
Chief Government Affairs Officer
Americans for Prosperity
Willes K. Lee
National Federation of Republican Assemblies
Freedom & Prosperity Caucus
Defending America Foundation
Strengthening America for All
William A. Estrada, Esq.,
Director of Federal Relations
Home School Legal Defense Association
Mat Staver, Esq.
Founder & Chairman
Property Rights Alliance
Americans for Liberty & Security
Michael J. Bowen
Coalition for a Strong America
Clyde Wayne Crews
Vice President for Policy
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Campaign for Liberty
The EPA announced that it will disregard the current law and rush new mandates into place before Obama leaves office.
In 2012, the Obama Administration pushed through a dramatic increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards — jumping the fleet average mileage mandates to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2015. At the time, it was agreed there would be a mid-term review before 2018 to determine if the new CAFE standards were feasibly possibly in the time frame required. However, now the Obama Administration and the EPA just announced that there will be no midterm review and that intends to impose the 54.5 miles per gallon mandate regardless of the feasibility or impact. Continue reading
Returning to a system of taxation without representation where a European power taxes Americans is unacceptable.
The European Union (EU) has ruled that Apple, one of the world’s top technology companies, must pay $14.5 billion in taxes to Ireland, despite the fact that Ireland has determined that Apple has paid all the taxes it owes.
You read that right.
The nation of Ireland has reviewed Apple’s tax filings and has determined that Apple has paid 100% of the taxes it owes under Ireland’s tax code. But the EU has stepped-in and said that Ireland doesn’t understand its own tax laws, that Ireland’s review of Apple’s taxes is incorrect, and that only EU bureaucrats in Brussels can understand Irish tax law and Apple’s tax filings.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, described this EU ruling as “total political crap.” Tim Cook is quite frankly being very kind in his characterization. The truth is — this is far worse than that. Aside from the hubris of a bunch of pointy headed bureaucrats in Brussels telling Irish tax authorities that they don’t understand their own tax code, this is actually an attempt to legalize grand theft robbery. At the very least, the EU is now officially in the shakedown racket.
No wonder Brexit was a success! What sane individual would want to belong to this group of lawless gangsters pretending to be an overarching cooperative governmental entity?
Some Americans might privately say that while this is unfortunate for Apple, it isn’t my problem. But the truth is — this is our problem because the EU is effectively reaching into your pocket to grab this taxes.
You might think that Apple will pay this taxes, not you. But this overlooks the fact that if Apple is forced to pay extra taxes by the EU, it can legally and properly record that paid taxes elsewhere on its US tax returns — because no business is required to pay taxes on its profits multiple times. Once is enough. So in the end, the EU is actually reaching into our pockets and taking money from us.
As U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said yesterday, “I have been concerned that [the EU’s decision] reflected an attempt to reach into the U.S. tax base to tax income that ought to be taxed in the United States.” Secretary Lew is being very diplomatic. The more frank way of saying that is the EU is trying to steal from US taxpayers.
Here is the truth — the EU sees a successful American company and wants to reach into its bank account. It isn’t a lot different than when a thief spots a businessman in a nice suit and targets him for a mugging. The EU’s avarice knows no bounds and so it will use any pretext — even claiming that Ireland does not understand its own tax law — to impose additional taxes. In the process, the EU in effect robs Americans of $14.5 billion.
If this stands, the EU will be reaching into American pocketbooks and wallets every year in greater and greater amounts to pay for their excesses and their failed top-heavy, oppressive regulatory regime model of government. This is precisely why Brexit was a success despite the lies used to defeat it. If Europeans like this system, they can have it. But we must stop them from forcing Americans to fund their choices.
American leaders need to stand up and be crystal clear that this will not stand. This is not Apple’s problem. It is our problem. The EU has found a way to make Americans foot the bill for the EU’s extravagant waste. We must put a stop to this now. There can be no compromise. This is an act of bare and raw criminality and theft hidden behind fancy European accents and official EU letterhead. But if it is allowed to stand, soon Americans will be heavily taxed by foreign powers simply because we allowed it to happen.
Being taxed by a European power across the Atlantic with whom we have no representation takes us backward to before 1776. Let’s not sit by and let that happen.
I write you today on behalf of Frontiers of Freedom to express our concern over the Puerto Rican Government’s $46 billion in severely underfunded pension liabilities.
Recently, a Puerto Rican Government-sponsored coalition published a report claiming that the Commonwealth may have violated its own constitutional debt limit in borrowing up to $30 billion from creditors. The commission asserts that, if this is the case, the island would not be obliged to repay the money it borrowed, despite the fact that it did not warn bondholders of the sale’s potential illegality at the time it sold bonds to them. This report, which was authored in part by a major labor union, is a thinly-veiled attempt to ensure preferential treatment for Puerto Rico’s public pension system, which congressional Democrats, members of the Obama Administration, and Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla have sought to retroactively prioritize over the island’s other creditors. Continue reading
Dear Chairmen Kline and Upton:
We write in strong opposition to H.R.5365, the “Muhammad Ali Expansion Act,” legislation introduced by Rep. Markwayne Mullin to regulate mixed martial arts (MMA), which is one of the most popular sports in the U.S. and fastest growing throughout the world. This misguided legislation is yet another unfortunate and unneeded regulatory power grab that will stifle the dynamic innovation and success of MMA. Continue reading
by Ronald D. Rotunda • Verdict
In 2009, there was a massive email leak from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. Supporters of global warming claimed the disclosures were out of context while opponents claimed they showed efforts to manipulate data. One of the quoted emails, Professor Phil Jones, while discussing paleo-data used to reconstruct past temperatures, says, “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” (Emphasis added.) The House of Commons investigated and concluded, “insofar as we have been able to consider accusations of dishonesty—for example, Professor Jones’s alleged attempt to ‘hide the decline’—we consider that there is no case to answer.”
In the 1970s, scientists told us to fear global cooling and warned about the coming ice age. In 1970 alone, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the LA Times all published stories with headlines like “Scientists See Ice Age in the Future.” Time Magazine’s cover story on Jan. 31, 1973, (still posted on the Magazine’s website) was all about “The Big Freeze.” Two years later, Newsweek reported, “There are ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production—with serious political implications.” The problem—warming? No, cooling! The story concluded, “Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend,” but “they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.” Continue reading
Add “Green Energy” Pork Barrel Tax Extenders to Unrelated FAA Bill
Millions of Americans are deeply disappointed that Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) worked to insert sweetheart tax benefits for special interests in the so-called renewable energy industry. Simply stated, hard working Americans who are struggling to make ends meet may now end up paying hundreds of millions of dollars to well-healed “green energy” companies — like wind and geothermal energy — who can afford the best lobbyists money can buy. Continue reading
The CURB Lifeline Act of 2016 does a number of important things. The FCC will be exploding the “Lifeline Budget” by roughly 50%. It is time for Congress to begin requiring some accountability and some reasonable restraint. This legislation does exactly that!
Phasing out the mobile-voice-only “Obama Phone” program is a positive step for the American taxpayer. The program has been fraught with waste, fraud and abuse. Capping Lifeline spending at its current rate, rather than allowing spending to dramatically balloon protects the taxpayer and requires the FCC to be responsible stewards of the power entrusted to them. Continue reading
Tobacco products are understandably a hot and controversial regulatory issue. But what is surprising is that vapor products, only some of which have a visual appearance similar to cigarettes, but all of which contain no tobacco and provide a much healthier and safer choice for smokers, seem to be attracting an even greater level of interest from federal regulators.
A final rule is under review by the Office of Management and Budget which would deem vapor products, like electronic cigarettes, to be subject to even more heavy duty FDA regulation than the rules to which traditional tobacco cigarettes are subjected. This makes no sense, and it is a huge loss for public health and is counter-productive to over-regulate a new, innovative product that satisfies adult consumers without subjecting them to the health risks of traditional burning tobacco. Continue reading
I don’t know if the ancient language of Arizona’s Tohono O’odham Native American tribe includes a word for “hubris” — defined as excessive pride or self-confidence, with synonyms like “arrogance” and “deceit.”
Regardless of whether they have an equivalent word for hubris, the Tohono O’odham Nation (TON) leaders have proven themselves masters of the concept. And the casino they plan to open December 20th in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale is a monument to hubris, not to mention greed and a shameless distortion of the principle of tribal sovereignty. Now, it appears, federal legislation is the only solution.
All 17 Arizona gaming tribes – including TON – joined in a compact with the state, supported by a public referendum that gave the tribes exclusive rights to operate gambling casinos in Arizona. In return the tribes agreed to specific limits on the number of casinos in Arizona. This was intended to prevent over-saturation thereby providing financial support to the tribes and host communities through gaming revenues, a structure that has proven profitable since enacted in 2002.
The TON casino in Glendale violates the agreed upon limit of seven casinos in the Phoenix area at least until the compact expires in 2027. TON already runs three lucrative casinos on their reservation lands near Tucson. Its Glendale invasion is empire-building pure and simple, not to be confused with a poor tribe trying to pull itself out of poverty. Continue reading
by Kenneth Bloomquist
Standing before an audience of college students, President Obama remarked that “As Americans, we can and should be proud of the progress that our country has made over these past six years. This progress has been hard, but it has been steady and it has been real. And it’s the result of the American people’s drive and their determination and their resilience, and it’s also the result of sound decisions made by my administration.” These remarks sound more defensive than confident. The President asserted that Americans should feel proud of the modest economic gains his administration frequently cites, but given that over half of Americans still consider the economy to be meandering through a recession it seems they have overwhelmingly rejected his outlook and chosen to remain humble instead.
Perhaps they’re being overly pessimistic? In the President’s defense, the metrics commonly used to measure the duration of recessions do indeed place the end of the Great Recession in 2009. Since then, GDP has risen slowly, but steadily, at an adjusted rate of just over 2% per year. The unemployment rate has fallen from its 2009 high of just under 10% to just under 6%, and new jobs are being created at a pace which is improving with time. And yet despite the graphs and charts, Americans refuse to be optimistic no matter how often they are told to be. The economy as described in press conferences doesn’t seem to be same one which most Americans live and work in, where family and friends remain unemployed or underpaid, where they have been passed over for raises, and where there just isn’t enough income leftover to save. Americans may not all have advanced economics degrees, but they are intuitively aware when times are good and when times are bad, and they remain skeptical even when bombarded by a steady stream of rose-tinted statistics. Continue reading
How scary are your jack-o’-lanterns? Scarier than you think, according to the Energy Department, which claims the holiday squash is responsible for unleashing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Most of the 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the U.S. end up in the trash, says the Energy Department’s website, becoming part of the “more than 254 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) produced in the United States every year.”
Municipal solid waste decomposes into methane, “a harmful greenhouse gas that plays a part in climate change, with more than 20 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide,” Energy says. Continue reading