McConnell Fires-Off the ‘Coal Country Protection Act,’ Harry Reid Shoots It Down

[Harry Reid vetoed McConnell’s proposal one-minuet ago (SEE: Reid blocks McConnell’s bill on EPA rule).  Mitch is going to have to find a better path than the one he would prefer.  If he is to have any effect at all, he will have to risk actually appealing to the people, in order to gain their warm bodies to his side.  Actions by Obama, such as this attack on jobs and his release of 5 top Taliban murderers (for one potential deserter), will guarantee that the next election will be the most extreme in years.]

McConnell Introduces the ‘Coal Country Protection Act’

Insurance News Net

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Contact: Don Stewart, Michael Brumas 202-224-2979, Robert Steurer, Stephanie Penn 202-224-8288

McConnell Introduces the ‘Coal Country Protection Act’

‘I’m going to keep vigorously fighting against the Obama Administration’s continued War on Coal Jobs – and this extreme, anti-Middle Class national energy tax in particular.’

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate Floor today regarding the Administration’s latest attack on the Middle Class (a summary of the bill is attached):

“Four years ago, Washington Democrats sold this country a bill of goods.

“Like a Ginsu knife pitchman, they promised that Obamacare would create jobs, and improve the economy, and lower premiums, and reduce health spending – all for the low, low price of not causing Americans to lose their insurance, or their doctors, or the hospitals they liked.

“Today, Americans know the truth: it was a sham. The Lie of the Year. Convenient deceits told to advance the Far Left’s agenda.

“The people we represent just want the pain of Obamacare to go away. But the Democrats who run Washington, they’ve got other ideas – and just yesterday, they rolled out the red carpet for a sequel.

“That’s just what we saw when the Obama Administration announced the latest front in its War on Kentucky Coal Jobs.

“The newest attack is the most extreme yet.

“The President wants Americans to believe that his national energy tax can somehow heal the planet and regulate the oceans. And he wants you to believe that it can be done without harming Middle Class families – that, in fact, his massive regulatory scheme will create jobs, and bring billions in economic benefits, and shrink – you heard that right, shrink – Americans’ energy bills.

“Well, if you believe that, I’ve got some Obamacare to sell you.

“This is the same President, remember, who boasted as a candidate that his energy tax policies would make electricity prices ‘skyrocket.’

“And the truth is, the President’s energy tax won’t even have an appreciable effect on global carbon emissions anyway. President Obama’s last Environmental Protection Agency head told us as much: ‘U.S. action alone will not impact world CO2 levels.’ That’s a quote from her.

“Because you need emissions-heavy countries like India and China on board first.

“That’s just a scientific fact. Though I suspect our friends on the Left will conveniently ignore it.

“Because the point of this whole exercise is sadly obvious: it’s not really about science or global warming at all, it’s about making privileged elitists – elitists who may not feel the pinch of a higher utility bill or the pain of a lost job – feel like they ‘did something.’

“And there’s another reason why the echoes of Obamacare here are so unmistakable: the President’s national energy tax represents a direct attack on the American Middle Class.

“Experts say it would devastate entire swaths of our economy and could lead to a loss of nearly a half million jobs, according to one AFL-CIO labor union estimate. In fact, the head of that union, the United Mine Workers of America, said this energy tax would lead to ‘long-term and irreversible job losses.’

“The national energy tax would also ship Middle Class jobs overseas, shatter our manufacturing base, and drive up energy costs for families. It’s a dagger aimed right at the heart of the American Middle Class, at a time when our constituents are already struggling under the weight of so many of this Administration’s other failed policies.

“Let’s not forget: opportunity has already decreased for too many families under this President’s watch. Millions of our friends and neighbors are still out of work. And the economy is at a standstill.

“And this is President Obama’s plan” To squeeze the Middle Class even harder and ship American jobs overseas?

“And to do it by going around Congress?

“It’s clear that the President is trying to impose this national energy tax via executive order because he knows the representatives of the people would never vote for it. He knows that Congress already rejected a similar national energy tax when he tried it last term too.

“Maybe he’s avoiding legislative accountability because he knows his energy tax is cruel too – because he knows it would have an especially devastating impact on the most vulnerable members of our society: the poor, the unemployed, and seniors on a fixed income.

“It’s a curious thing: the same elites who like to lecture us from their privileged perches about helping others.these are often the same people who seem to care least about who their extreme policies hurt.

“To them, the American people are just the hoi polloi, the ‘commoners’ who these elites think need their enlightened guidance.

“That’s especially true when it comes to coal mining families in my state. Good people who this administration hasn’t even bothered to hear from.

“Kentucky miners know that coal keeps the lights on. All they want to do is provide for their families and put food on the table.

“They’ve committed no crime. They’ve done nothing wrong. But the Obama Administration has declared a ‘war’ on them just the same. A White House advisor was quoted as saying that a War on Coal is ‘exactly what’s needed.’

“These are callous positions, to be sure. But they’re easy things to say when you live hundreds of miles away – when you don’t have to live with the real-world consequences of your Ivory Tower ideological fantasies; when you don’t have to see the raw human cost of your schemes.

“That certainly was the approach the Administration took when it scheduled listening sessions to discuss its anti-coal regulations. It only wanted to hear applause from fellow left-leaning elites – so it didn’t schedule a single listening session in Coal Country.

“Not even one.

“Here’s what one miner said at a coal listening session I hosted in Eastern Kentucky – after the Administration refused to come: ‘Our biggest worries now are just trying to keep a roof over our heads [and] food on the table.’

“He’s not alone.

“And he needs to know this: We on this side of the aisle hear him. We’re not going to let this Administration’s anti-Middle Class policies go unchallenged.

“That’s why today I’m introducing legislation, the Coal Country Protection Act, that would push back against the President’s extreme anti-coal scheme. It would require that simple but important benchmarks be met before his rules could take effect:

. The Secretary of Labor would have to certify that it would not generate loss of employment.

. The Director of the Congressional Budget Office would have to certify that it would not result in any loss in American gross domestic product.

. The Administrator of the Energy Information Administration would have to certify that it would not increase electricity rates.

nd the Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the President of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation would have to certify that electricity delivery would remain reliable.

“It’s just common sense. And that’s why I call upon the Democrat Majority Leader to schedule a vote on this legislation immediately – and to help us pass it too.

“Because Kentucky mining families are counting on him. So are countless Middle Class families in my state and across the country who stand to get hurt by this Administration’s cold ideological attacks.

“And if the Majority Leader and Senate Democrats stand in the way of passing this bill, Kentuckians and the American people will remember who stood with them and who worked against them. And I imagine they’d want to send a majority to Washington that would actually work for the Middle Class for a change, instead of hurting seniors and shipping jobs overseas.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to this.

“The President’s national energy tax is Obamacare 2.0.

“It’s a massive, big-government boondoggle that’s being marketed as something it isn’t.

“It’s an idea that won’t even solve the larger problem it purports to address.

“And it will hurt the Middle Class.

“So the President can pretend his national energy tax is about helping the environment, but we know better.

“It’s not going to do a thing to meaningfully control global carbon emissions.

“This is really about growing government. It’s really about making left-wing elitists feel better about themselves. And it’s really about helping political supporters in places like California and New York while inflicting serious pain on people in places like Kentucky.

“Well, I’m going to continue to fight. Kentuckians deserve no less.

“I’m going to keep vigorously fighting against the Obama Administration’s continued War on Coal Jobs – and this extreme, anti-Middle Class national energy tax in particular.”

Copyright: (c) 2010 Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc.

Unfortunately We Are To Witness A Revival of Europe’s Greatest Nightmare

[Europe’s nightmare soul is awakening.  And all of you thought that the scourge of Nazism had faded (SEE:THE CAMP OF THE SAINTS).]

Europe’s far-right in steady crawl toward power

 

France’s far right National Front political party leader Marine Le Pen reacts after delivering her speech in front of the Opera following the National Front’s annual May Day rally in Paris, May 1, 2012. — Photo by Reuters

PARIS: Marine Le Pen wants to bust the French political system — and people across Europe and beyond should take note.

Her stunning score in the first round of French presidential elections won her anti-immigrant National Front a place in the Europe-wide march of nationalist — sometimes extremist — parties toward seats of power.

Le Pen’s rage will be on millions of voters’ minds, both her critics and fans, as they elect a president Sunday.

The same day, Greek citizens, strapped by austerity measures in a nation crushed by debt, could vote in about a dozen lawmakers from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn.

Bit by bit, far-right parties from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia are gaining momentum among the populace and a foothold in their nations’ power structures.

The European debt crisis has added a sharp edge to the mix.

More than two dozen parties around Europe denouncing immigrants — mainly Muslims — as invaders, and calling globalisation and the European Union devils in disguise, are gnawing at the political mainstream.

“Islamism is the totalitarianism of religions and globalisation is the totalitarianism of trade,” Le Pen, who won almost 18 per cent of the first round vote, said at a news conference this week. “The nation is the only structure capable” of vanquishing the evil.

The Dutch nationalist Freedom Party of Geert Wilders, the third-largest in the Netherlands’ parliament, brought down the minority government last week simply by withdrawing support — an inspiration to Le Pen who cites it as an example of what she and her party could do.

Le Pen’s strong third place showing in the first round caused conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy to blatantly borrow from her rhetoric in hopes of wooing her voters and saving his job when he faces a runoff Sunday with Socialist Francois Hollande.

Hungary’s populist centre-right government headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban is worrying the European Union because of a repressive media law and other restrictive measures. But the country also counts extreme-right Jobbik as its largest opposition party, one with anti-Roma and anti-Semitic overtones.

No one reason can be cited for the rise of populism or the extreme right in a Europe with such varied political, economic and social landscapes and, for former Soviet satellites in central Europe, widely divergent histories.

“There is a need to react to the feeling of the decline of Europe…many people, the middle and lower middle classes, feel that their social status has escaped them,” said Erwan Lecoeur, a sociologist who studies the far right.

This perceived loss pushes them to reconstruct a new, redefined sense of honour — with the nation as its centre and outsiders, including the elite, as the enemy.

Lecoeur cites the term used by renowned turn-of-the-century sociologist Max Weber to refer to whites too poor to own slaves — “the syndrome of poor white trash” — as an apt description of the psychology underlying adhesion to populist parties.

But identifying the parties in question is itself confounding. Are they populist? Nationalist? Extreme right? That depends. They come in all shades.

Anders Behring Breivik, the fanatic extremist who killed 77 people in a July bombing and shooting rampage, was a member of the Progress Party in Norway for seven years, until 2006. The anti-immigration Progress is Norway’s biggest opposition party, with 41 of 169 parliamentary seats. Yet it is more moderate than many of its European counterparts and thinks of itself as conservative.

Few parties wish to be referred to as extreme right, which conjures up images of Hitler or the rabble of jack-booted neo-Nazis now being kept at a distance by parties like the National Front.

The varying degrees of extremism and the very nationalism these parties espouse have thus far prevented any meaningful alliances between Europe’s far-right groups.

Le Pen contends the neo-Nazi label doesn’t suit her and is used to discredit her party, although her National Front, founded in 1972 by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen — convicted numerous times of racism and anti-Semitism — has long been described that way. Experts say the party is deeply anchored in extreme-right ideology.

Le Pen prefers to describe her party as patriotic and nationalist and says she can live with the term “populist,” increasingly used to describe Europe’s far-right parties.

The National Front under Marine Le Pen, party leader since January 2011, embodies the new far-right, out to prove that immigrants are stealing jobs, multiculturalism is sapping national identities and Europe is severing nations from their souls.

Le Pen and Wilders of the Netherlands are the most visible symbols of the rise of the European far-right. Both are outspoken and charismatic in their bids to bring change.

Le Pen hopes to pierce France’s power structure, converting her first round score — a record for her party — into seats in parliament in June elections. Her short-term dream is to become the chief of the French opposition under a leftist president.

Wilders’ Freedom Party, which is anti-EU, anti-Muslim and pro-Israel, already has. It won 25 of 150 parliamentary seats in 2010 elections. This week, Wilders launched his English-language autobiography, “Marked for Death, Islam’s War Against the West and Me,” with a trip to the United States.

Another Freedom Party, this one in Austria, holds 34 of 183 parliamentary seats and polls second in opinion polls, just behind the Social Democrats, one of two parties in the governing coalition. Like France’s National Front, it has — under new leader Heinz-Christian Strache — pulled the curtains on its anti-Semitic bent to exploit fears of Islamist domination and the EU.

The Nordic countries each count populist parties opposed to immigration, and the Danish People’s Party, Denmark’s third largest, pushed the government to adopt some of Europe’s strictest immigration laws.

Europe’s debt crisis has been fodder for anti-EU parties. Marine Le Pen, like others blaming the euro currency for her country’s ills, says, “I knew it would take us into the abyss.” She wants a return to the franc.

There is real concern that Europe’s debt plight will further stoke dormant tensions.

The Council of Europe’s Commission Against Racism and Intolerance warned in its annual report issued Thursday of a rise in intolerance of immigrants and minority groups like the Roma, or Gypsies, due to scarce job opportunities and welfare cuts.

“Xenophobic rhetoric is now part of mainstream debate,” the body said after country visits last year. “Resistance to racism is essential to preserve Europe’s future,” said Jeno Kaltenbach, chairman of the commission.

Far-right parties often advance in small steps, pressuring governments to align laws to fit their populist ideology. Others trumpet their message inside parliament with hopes of finding a place in the mainstream right.

“There is a very strong possibility of contamination of the classic parliamentary right,” said Nicolas Lebourg, an expert on the extreme right at the University of Perpignan.

Le Pen herself has said she sees her role as undermining the traditional right so she can eventually embody it.

“You only need to be a spoiler to have an enormous weight,” she said. “This victory is inevitable, like that of others in Europe who defend the nation.”

Whether the far-right can win real power — for example, running a major European city — is far from certain. But a party need not be in power to do severe damage as it fans social tensions.

“Europe today is a dry prairie waiting for someone to light a match,” Lebourg said.

More doubts cast on European missile defense plan

[The experts are finally doing their job, advising the President on the folly of the path he has chosen.  They have pointed-out the futility of claiming that he is protecting the homeland, when all he has been doing is antagonizing our potential adversaries for the sake of protecting Europe.  When it comes to the Republicans, they are even more in the dark, because they have never seen a weapons system that most of them didn’t like.  They are trying to outgun Obama by hollering that he has sold-out to the Russian pressure, when what he has been doing is just the opposite–causing Russian pressure on their trigger finger to increase.  

Retreating from a foolish foreign policy decision is not weakness, it is something that used to be known as “Statesmanship.”]

More doubts cast on European missile defense plan

– Boston.com.

By Desmond Butler
 

Associated Press

WASHINGTON—The National Academy of Sciences is casting more doubt on whether the Obama administration’s European-based missile defense shield can protect the United States and recommends scrapping key parts of the system.

The academy’s assessment could complicate White House efforts to persuade Congress to fund the still-developing program. Though the academy says the plans would protect Europe effectively, some lawmakers already are asking why the U.S., at a time of tight budgets, should spend billions of dollars on a system that provides limited homeland defense.

The conclusions from the academy, which advises the government on science and technology, were contained in a letter to lawmakers obtained by The Associated Press.

The academy’s letter bolsters two earlier reports by Defense Department advisers and congressional investigators that said the European system faced significant delays, cost overruns and technology problems.

The letter is dated April 3 and addressed to the chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, and the panel’s top Democrat, California Rep. Loretta Sanchez. It is based on unclassified parts of a broad academy report on U.S. missile defense capabilities not yet released.

Rick Lehner, a spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, said he was unaware of the academy’s report and declined to comment.

Republicans, who have been questioning President Barack Obama’s national security credentials ahead of the November elections, are likely to seize on the letter to bolster their argument that the European plans were poorly thought through and designed to appease Russia.

The defense shield is one of Obama’s top military programs. Soon after he took office in 2009, he revamped a Bush administration missile defense plan that had been a chief source of tension with Russia. The Russian government believed the program is aimed at its missiles, while the U.S. said the system was designed to counter any Iranian missile threat.

While Russia initially welcomed the Obama administration’s changes, it since has ramped up its criticism. On Thursday, Russia’s top military officer went so far as to threaten pre-emptive military action on missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe if the U.S. goes ahead with its plans.

Obama’s plan called for slower interceptors than the earlier plan that could address Iran’s medium-range missiles. The interceptors would be upgraded gradually over four phases, culminating in 2020 with newer versions, still in development, that the administration says will protect Europe and the United States. The early phases call for using Aegis radars on ships and a more powerful radar based in Turkey. Later phases call for moving Aegis radars to Romania and Poland.

The academy says the proposed system could effectively defend Europe and U.S. troops based there against short- and medium-range missiles from Iran if the system uses an interceptor that is fast enough. But it dismisses the administration’s claims that the system eventually will offer protection to the United States as well. It says the system is “at best less than optimal for homeland defense.”

It recommends eliminating the last phase of the Obama plan because it says the interceptors planned for that phase will not be fast enough to take down intercontinental missiles launched from Iran. It says the Bush administration plan would have faced the same problem.

It also recommends abandoning a satellite tracking system now in development that the administration has argued could solve weaknesses in the system’s radars. A report by the Defense Science Board, a Pentagon advisory group, argued that the radars planned for the shield were too weak to track missiles effectively. The administration has denied that and said its satellite system would bolster the missile shield’s capabilities.

But in blunt language, the academy rejects that claim, saying the satellites would be too far away from the threat to provide useful data. It also says the system would cost up to three times the administration’s estimates.

According to a congressional aide who has seen the academy’s study, it estimates the satellite system would cost $27.7 billion. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly.

The report recommends “terminating all effort” on the satellite project.

——

Online:

The National Academy of Science’s letter: http://apne.ws/JuTlSn

Missile Defense Agency: http://www.mda.mil/system/system.html