The Obama administration’s plan for U.N. climate change talks encountered swift opposition after its release Tuesday, with Republican leaders warning other countries to “proceed with caution” in negotiations with Washington because any deal could be later undone.
The White House is seeking to enshrine its pledge in a global climate agreement to be negotiated Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris. It calls for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by close to 28 percent from 2005 levels within a decade, using a host of existing laws and executive actions targeting power plants, vehicles, oil and gas production and buildings.
But Republican critics say the administration lacks the political and legal backing to commit the United States to an international agreement.
“Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn’t even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
But elements of the administration’s climate policy already face legal challenges. On April 16, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. will hear arguments from 13 states opposed to as-yet-unfinalized regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that target emissions in existing power plants.
And McConnell’s warnings echoed the tone of a March 9 “open letter” from 47 Republican senators to Iran, in which they warned a Republican president would not be bound to honor a nuclear agreement struck by Democrat Obama without congressional approval, calling it a “mere executive agreement.”
Some observers said that resistance to the administration’s climate policies leaves foreign governments questioning whether Obama’s commitments can last.
Category Archives: “Intelligence”
Just how badly has Barack Obama and his administration damaged relations with our allies in the Middle East? NBC’s Richard Engel reports that the Sunni nations in the region have begun to fear that the Obama administration leaks intel to Iran as part of its efforts at rapprochement with the mullahs, which is why the US got blindsided by the Saudi-led coalition’s operations in Yemen. The White House’s “incoherence” in policy, Engel reports, has most of them losing confidence in American leadership, according to Engel’s contacts (via Free Beacon):
ENGEL (1:58): I know several people in the US military who were taken by surprise by this [action in Yemen]. Senior officials who would have been expected to know that there was going to be an operation in Yemen, they didn’t. They were finding out about it almost in real time.
And they believe, and some US members of Congress believe, that the reason Saudi Arabia and other states didn’t tell the US that it was going to launch this war against Shi’ite backed, or Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, is because Saudi Arabia and other countries simply don’t trust the United States anymore, don’t trust this administration — think the administration is working to befriend Iran to try and make a deal in Switzerland, and therefore didn’t think that the intelligence frankly would be secure.
I think that is a situation that is quite troubling for US foreign policy, where traditional allies — like Saudi Arabia, like Egypt, like the United Arab Emirates — don’t know if the US is reliable at this stage to hold onto this information when it comes to Iran.
A University of Virginia student’s bloody arrest has sparked a massive protest and led Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call for an investigation.
A video showing the bloody arrest of a black UVA undergraduate Martese Johnson sparked hundreds of students to protest against police brutality Wednesday night.
Johnson, 20, joined the demonstration, sporting 10 fresh stitches in his head from the violent takedown early that morning outside a Charlottesville pub.
Footage from the arrest, showing a cop pinning the Honor Committee student against the street and blood covering his face, outraged classmates and spurred McAuliffe to call for an independent probe of the arresting agency.
UVA was quick to challenge authorities for actions taken during Johnson’s arrest. He was pinched for public intoxication and obstruction of justice about 1 a.m. Wednesday.
So how might Obama retaliate against Israel for re-electing a pro-American government?
In the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decisive re-election, the Obama administration is revisiting longtime assumptions about America’s role as a shield for Israel against international pressure.
Angered by Netanyahu’s hard-line platform towards the Palestinians, top Obama officials would not rule out the possibility of a change in American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has historically fended off resolutions hostile to Israel.
Nice country you have here. Shame if something were to happen to it.
At no time in history has there ever been a “Palestine.” Should there be one now? Does it makes sense for Israel to resist the foundation of a terrorist Islamic state in Judea and Samaria, the heart of Biblical Israel? One might think so.
The administration’s critique goes on and on, as you will see if you follow the link. The bottom line is that we now have, in the United States, an administration that is friendly to the Islamic extremists in Iran who consider us to be the “Great Satan,” who hang homosexuals from cranes, who torture and kill those who want democracy, who have ICBMs and eagerly seek nuclear weapons with which to attack us and our allies. All of that is fine with the Obama administration, apparently. But the administration is bitterly hostile to the only actual democracy in the Middle East–the one place in the region where women in burkas can vote.
Does this make any sense? Seemingly not. But over the next year and a half, watch for Barack Obama to try to punish Israel for electing Benjamin Netanyahu, contrary to his wishes. In the Age of Obama, logic takes a back seat to ego.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Wednesday that it’s possible the Secret Service erased surveillance tapes of two supposedly intoxicated agents driving a vehicle through an active bomb-scene investigation site.
Speaking to CNN and CBS News, the House Oversight Committee chairman said the revelation was made known to several lawmakers during a closed-doors meeting with Secret Service Director Joe Clancy.
“We inquired if there were additional tapes and angles and the director informed us that there may not be because it’s their policy to erase them 72 hours after they record, which is just unfathomable,” Chaffetz told CNN. “I can’t think of any good reason to do that.”
“This is not your local 7-11. This is the White House,” he added.
The Republican lawmaker told CBS News that the news left the entire room in astonishment.
“I don’t think anyone in that room could believe it,” Chaffetz said. “That’s just a stunning revelation that 72 hours after they make a tape they destroy it? That doesn’t make any sense to us.”
Chaffetz also questioned why some tapes would be destroyed, when others were preserved.
“If it’s regular policy to destroy them after 72 hours, why did they have two of the tapes, and where are the rest of the tapes? And so far the Secret Service has not been able to answer the question,” he told CBS News.
The two senior agents — including Mark Connolly, the No. 2 on Obama’s security detail — had been with other agents drinking at a bar last week when they returned to the White House in a government car, a U.S. official said. The vehicle entered an area already closed off by the Secret Service, who were investigating a suspicious package and had put the White House on lockdown. Officers on the scene saw the agents’ car, traveling slowly, make contact with a barrier, the official said.
White House Celebrates National Freedom Of Information Day By Making Office Of The Administration Completely UnFOIA-able
The White House is removing a federal regulation that subjects its Office of Administration to the Freedom of Information Act, making official a policy under Presidents Bush and Obama to reject requests for records to that office.
So, there’s that: another agency within the government that won’t respond to FOIA requests. I mean, many don’t, at least not until they’re successfully sued. Others play the waiting game, the “we can’t find it” game and the “fine, but it’ll cost you” game. But this office will simply play the “we don’t have to” game.
Most of the White House is off-limits to FOIA requests, with various court decisions in its favor shoring up the request denials. But the Office of Administration was different… or was up until recently.
Unlike other offices within the White House, which were always exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, the Office of Administration responded to FOIA requests for 30 years. Until the Obama administration, watchdog groups on the left and the right used records from the office to shed light on how the White House works.
Obama may have pressed the kill switch, but this slide towards opacity started back during the previous presidency — also no fan of government transparency. A lawsuit over 22 million emails led Bush’s administration to exercise its option to opt out of FOIA responsiveness and a 2009 court ruling upheld the Office’s decision. In the end, the Office of Administration is still charged with archiving presidential emails, but it doesn’t have to release them until five years after the current president has left office.
A Missouri state legislator wants the Environmental Protection Agency to back off of people’s backyard barbecues.
On Monday, State Senator Eric Schmitt (R) from St. Louis kicked off a #porksteakrebellion after he discovered the EPA is funding a study on propane grill emissions that suggest pit masters use a special tray to catch grease drippings and a “catalytic” filtration system to reduce air pollution.
“The idea that the EPA wants to find their way into our back yards, where we’re congregating with our neighbors, having a good time, on the 4th of July, barbecuing pork steak or hamburgers, is ridiculous and it’s emblematic of agency that’s sort of out of control,” Schmitt said.
The EPA is funding a $15,000 University of California-Riverside study to look at the particulate emissions you breathe when grilling over an open flame. Along with the drip tray, the emission removal system includes the use of a “secondary air filtration system is composed of a single pipe duct system which contains a specialized metal filter, a metal fan blade, a drive shaft, and an accompanying power system with either a motorized or manual method,” according to study.
Those opposed to the study met Monday night at St. Louis’ LeGrand’s Market & Catering sandwiches shop after Schmitt launched the rebellion via Twitter.
“Personally, I think being able to barbecue in your back yard extends your life,” customer Pat Schommer told Fox. “It’s part of pleasure – backyard barbecuing and I love it.”
The most difficult part of the whole story has been to watch an agency with a reputation so sterling become so easily the butt of a joke. Remember when the only thing there was to make fun of was their dress uniform? The sunglasses, the earpieces, the starchy suits?
The most frustrating part is the conversations I’ve had with other agents about alcohol abuse. When I suggest that maybe members of details should abstain entirely from drinking, they think it’s absurd. These are grown men and women, I’m told. They know how to incorporate a post-shift cocktail into their routine, and they have to have some way to decompress about a hard day’s work. After all, they are human, and their job is just really difficult, and it would be draconian to deprive them of a legal way to ventilate. They’re defending the drug. They’re not defending their colleagues.
The most worrisome part is the effect on the mission itself. The Secret Service relies on its mystique, its aura of invincibility, to deter would-be assassins. If you’re a bad guy, and you think the agents around the president are a cut above every other human on earth, you might think twice before trying something. If it occurs to you that some of them might be nursing a hangover and their reflexes might be dulled, you might decide to take your chances.
The Secret Service will not survive in its present form unless every single employee is empowered, both culturally and legally, to intervene when it appears that a colleague has had too much to drink; when supervisors have an incentive to pull those agents off details; when other agents decide that camaraderie and brotherhood are better served when agents have the balls to talk to each other openly about excess alcohol consumption.
New York Times reporter David Leonhardt asserts that “for all their similarities, Hillarynomics (the phrase “Clintonomics” is already taken) and Obamanomics will not be identical.”
Maybe not, but the piece makes me think they’ll be pretty darn similar. For instance: Like President Obama, Clinton may seek middle-class tax cuts and pay for them through higher taxes on the rich. Would those tax hikes come through higher rates or scaling back tax breaks? Obama has done both. Would Clinton want to take the top statutory income tax rate above the current 39.6%, the top rate during hubby Bill’s administration? Similarly, as Times reporter Josh Barro wonders, would she take the capital gains tax rate above 20%, the current rate (not counting the 3.8% Obamacare tax) and the top rate during Clinton I? Back during her 2008 presidential campaign she said she would not.
Let’s say Clinton more or less adopts this “the era of big government is not over” agenda. Directionally, it seems in sync with Obamanomics, 2015 version, as seen in the president’s most recent State of the Union speech. That is to say, it would be to the left of Bill Clintonomics. It would be more skeptical of trade and Wall Street, more pro-union, and more redistributive. It would be where the Democratic Party is today, not where it was in 1999, even though candidate Clinton would surely recall the 1990s as a Clinton-led golden age. So Barack’s third term, not Bill’s, seems more likely. And the party’s slide to the left would continue.