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: President
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.
Bureaucrats from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will weigh and measure children in daycare as part of a study mandated by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.
The agency published a notice in the Federal Register on Friday proposing data collection on what meals are served in professional and home daycare facilities and how much physical activity children perform.
Aside from assessing how healthy the food in daycare is, the USDA will also check the weight and height of roughly 3,000 children.
“Children will be asked to cooperate with study staff who will weigh and measure them for the Standing Height and Weight Form,” the notice said.
The study is required by section 223 of Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by Mrs. Obama and passed in 2010. The main aspect of the law implemented new standards for school lunches.
A lesser-known requirement of the law is the “Study on Nutrition and Wellness Quality in Childcare Settings (SNAQCS),” which the USDA announced Friday. The public will have 60 days to comment.
The USDA said the data collection is important since more than 30 million kids are in daycare.
And if by “nation” they mean “this White House,” it’s probably true. Here’s a refresher on the administration’s moral calculus these days:
Out: Standing by the only democratic Middle East ally.
In: Entering into deals with theocratic terror-sponsoring regimes that will destabilize the entire region, without the consent of the American people.
Sure, Iran’s top ally may be dropping chlorine gas on civilians, but the real problem in the Middle East is the Israel electorate. “The Price Israel Must Pay: We no longer have a Netanyahu problem. We have an Israel problem”—not a Hamas problem, or Fatah problem, not a random-criminals-shooting-folks-in-markets problem, or a lack-of-a-civil-society-in-the-Middle-East problem, but an Israel problem—writes William Saltean over at Slate. If you turn on Obama—which is the only real “problem” here—there is always a steep price.
It is true, for many Democrats this is about Israel, not any one politician. But the irrational hatred of Benjamin Netanyahu sure does propel things
But the reason the president is facing such bipartisan backlash is that an overwhelming number of voters are deeply worried about the direction of the negotiations. Think about how rare, in these polarized times, mobilizing a veto-proof majority of congressional Republicans and Democrats is for any significant legislation. Yet despite all the distractions, Congress is close to achieving that goal: requiring the administration to go to Congress for approval of any deal.
The administration is so focused on process and protocol in attacking the opposition because it’s a useful distraction from how unpopular the administration’s eagerness to strike any deal with Iran has become.
Being so dismissive of public opinion is a dangerous game to play, especially when it comes to foreign policy. For all his mistakes in conducting the Iraq War, former President George W. Bush secured a bipartisan congressional authorization for declaring war against Iraq, working to rally public support in 2003 to win that approval.
Obama views that equation backward: Getting the outcome he wants, and then attacking his opponents for not going along with him. It certainly hasn’t proved to be a healthy process domestically. Now he’s trying to extend that approach to the international stage.
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.
Barack Obama has an obsessive animosity when it comes to Prime Minister Netanyahu, which he has demonstrated time and again. So much so that Obama and his aides did everything they could to influence the Israeli election, from smearing Mr. Netanyahu — referring to him as a “coward” and a “chickens***” — to childishly elevating a difference over Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress into a foreign policy crisis to perhaps illegally funneling money to oust the sitting leader of Israel. We know that Jeremy Bird, who served as Obama’s deputy national campaign director in 2008 and his national campaign director in 2012, arrived in Israel in January to help unseat Mr. Netanyahu. This is all quite astonishing, even unprecedented. Benjamin Netanyahu may have won without the outside interference by Obama — but what Obama & Company did certainly helped.
I’m reminded of the self-inflicted “stunning setback” Mr. Obama suffered in 2009, when he and Mrs. Obama put their prestige on the line — they both flew to Copenhagen to make an appeal to the IOC — to get Chicago the 2016 Olympics. Chicago was eliminated on the first ballot. This time, the stakes were much higher and the damage done to Mr. Obama’s reputation far greater. .
There’s quite a pattern Mr. Obama has established in foreign policy during his presidency. He has failed in almost every instance, from his efforts at personal diplomacy to his policies. Remember the “new beginning” with the Arab and Muslim world? That claim now seems risible. Indeed, our relations with nation after nation — Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Canada, Israel, India, Australia, Honduras, Brazil, Germany, and Great Britain, to name just a few — are worse now than they were when Mr. Obama was sworn in as president in 2009. As for Mr. Obama’s claim that al Qaeda was “decimated,” in congressional testimony recently, Mr. Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said that terrorism trend lines were worse “than at any other point in history.” And the terrorist group the president famously referred to as the “jayvee team” just last year is now the best-armed, best-funded terrorist group on earth, controlling “a volume of resources and territory unmatched in the history of extremist organizations.”
Mr. Obama’s clumsy and malicious mishandling of relations with Israel, then, is but one brick in a wall of failure and infamy. The fact that Benjamin Netanyahu emerged victorious in his confrontation with Barack Obama — a confrontation whose root cause can be traced to Obama’s hostility not just to Netanyahu but to Israel (a point I’ve elaborated on here) — is a heartening development in a world that is increasingly chaotic and violent.
Why has Barack Obama been reluctant to congratulate Bibi Netanyahu for his surprising and smashing electoral victory in this week’s Israeli elections, aside from the obvious childish personal enmity?
It couldn’t be more obvious. Obama — never a gracious man — is seeing the bad handwriting on the wall. Israel, like America, has a “silent majority” and they have stood up tall in opposition to so-called liberalism/progressivism and defeatism against Islamic terror. That same “silent majority” is very likely to stand up again in this country in 2016 for similar reasons. They already did in 2014 — and they could go further, unraveling all of Obama’s policies and destroying his legacy.
The astonishing size of the Likud victory — the party was predicted in polls to lose by 3-4 Knesset seats and ended up winning by 5-6 — suggests the “silent majority” phenomenon of people quietly becoming fed up with being force-fed by liberal elites. If you read mainstream media coverage today, you see those same media having quasi-nervous breakdowns. Suddenly they are disenchanted with democracy.
And this all happened despite Obama’s get-out-the-vote henchmen being sent over to Israel — with a yet unclear degree of administration backing — to support the Zionist Union (i. e. Labor Party) opposition to Likud with all their modern electoral techniques that were so successful in 2012. This makes their failure all the more glaring — and disturbing to the administration.
This election is good news. Time for the GOP to redouble their efforts for 2016.
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.