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One County Saw a 27% Drop in Assaults After It Helped Enforce Immigration Law. Here’s the Rest of the Story.


waving flag disclaimerAuthored by Josh Siegel / / February 27, 2017

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has 37 agreements in 17 states with local law enforcement agencies to help enforce immigration law. (Photo: Reuters/Newscom)

In July 2007, the elected board of a growing county in Northern Virginia adopted a controversial resolution requiring the police department to partner with the federal government to help deport illegal immigrants.

Corey Stewart, the Republican elected the year before as chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, ran on a platform of stricter immigration enforcement during a time of economic anxiety.

“The main purpose of the resolution was to remove criminal illegal aliens so they couldn’t commit crimes, and to reduce illegal immigration to Prince William County,” Stewart recalled in an interview with The Daily Signal.

Before 2007, Prince William, a county of about 450,000 today, experienced dramatic growth in the number of foreign-born residents. Most of these recent arrivals were Latino, a segment of the total population that almost doubled from 11.5 percent in 2000 to 21.9 percent in 2006.

The debate over the immigration enforcement measure, amplified by demonstrations and phone and email campaigns to sway the eight county supervisors, ended with a 15-hour board meeting. More than 100 people testified before board members, delaying the vote, The Washington Post reported. Prince William’s supervisors, including six Republicans and two Democrats at the time, approved the measure unanimously.

Test Case: ‘Avoided the Controversy’

Prince William’s policy, as originally implemented in March 2008, required police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone officers encountered who they suspected to be in the country illegally, including people stopped for traffic tickets, for instance. The Obama administration shunned policies like this one, which were authorized through the use of a program known as 287(g) that permits local and federal immigration partnerships.

The George W. Bush administration had expanded the use of 287(g) agreements—named for the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1996, signed by President Bill Clinton, that created them.picture1

In President Barack Obama’s second term, however, his administration curtailed the 287(g) program, citing investigations and court rulings that found local officers in some jurisdictions had engaged in racial profiling when enforcing immigration law.illegalalienvoters-300x300

The most high-profile case was in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county, where a federal judge ruled in May 2013 that Sheriff Joseph Arpaio’s policy discriminated against Latinos.

But today, as part of its own effort to strengthen immigration enforcement, the Trump administration is seeking to encourage and expand the use of 287(g) agreements.ATTA BOY

In new memos detailing implementation of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, John Kelly, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, called the program a “highly successful force multiplier” that would help overburdened federal deportation agents enforce immigration law. As local politicians and law enforcement agencies decide whether or how to act on Trump’s call for help, observers say Prince William’s experience can be instructive on how to make a successful partnership that balances community and security concerns.

Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, promoted an ordinance requiring the police department to help enforce federal immigration law. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Newscom)

Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, promoted an ordinance requiring the police department to help enforce federal immigration law. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Newscom)

After pushback from the police chief at the time, Charlie Deane, who worried about diverting resources from normal operations to immigration enforcement and harming public trust, the board of supervisors suspended the policy at the end of April 2008. The board implemented a revised policy in July 2008. Under the change, police officers could inquire about immigration status only after arresting someone and taking him or her to the county jail—not during interactions on the street before making an arrest.

“Prince William County took a moderate, down-the-middle approach and avoided the controversy,” said Randy Capps, the director of research for U.S. programs at the Migration Policy Institute, who helped write a study of 287(g) programs that included Prince William County.

“That’s an interesting contrast with other police departments and sheriff’s offices, and it shows that for this to work, it has to be somewhat reflective of local concerns,” Capps told The Daily Signal. “We have a tradition in the U.S. of local control over policing, and that will mean variations in policing when it comes to immigrants.”

Stewart, who served as Trump’s campaign chairman in Virginia, had fought scaling back the county’s policy of enforcing immigration law. But today he credits the change with helping reduce serious crimes in Prince William County, such as aggravated assault—which declined 27 percent after announcement of the original policy in July 2007—while also respecting residents.

According to a University of Virginia report from 2010, no one made a substantiated claim of racial profiling related to the immigration enforcement program. Stewart says that is still the case.

Police officials issued bilingual brochures explaining the modified program to residents, and conducted hundreds of briefings with religious groups, social service agencies, and school faculty, among others.

“I opposed the change at the time, but at the end of the day, it was good,” Stewart told The Daily Signal, adding:

Federal immigration authorities need to be able to leverage local law enforcement to do the job of removing criminal illegal aliens. To do these things right, you have to make sure the community understands you are not racial profiling, but you are targeting illegal aliens who commit crimes. I learned there is a PR element which was very, very hard. Because one bad case of racial profiling can undo the whole thing.

Change in Priorities

At the peak of the 287(g) program’s use, in 2008, more than 60 local law enforcement agencies across the nation had agreements with the federal government, including three dozen that allowed for street-level enforcement. In street-level agreements, known as “task force” models, police officers and sheriff’s deputies could inquire about a person’s immigration status when they encountered him or her during routine patrols—as under Prince William’s original policy. These agreements allowed state and local law enforcement to work in task forces with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials on specific immigration-related operations.

Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, said 287(g) agreements at one point were responsible for nearly 20 percent of all criminal deportations by ICE. ICE credits the program for identifying more than 402,000 “potentially removable aliens” from January 2006 through Sept. 30, 2015. From 2006 to 2013, the program led to 175,000 deportations, The New York Times reported. Today, ICE has 37 agreements in 17 states, but law enforcement agencies administer all of them in local jails, not in the streets.

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That’s because Obama’s administration decided in 2012 to end street-level agreements, meaning that trained local police may question people about their immigration status only after booking and jailing them.

“The jail models are the ones that are most useful to ICE just because of the sheer numbers [of deportations] they generate,” Vaughan said, adding:

But the task force models canceled by Obama were extremely useful to local agencies, in some cases, at addressing specific crime problems. The Obama administration’s suppression of this program has contributed to the steep drop in interior enforcement.

In the Trump administration’s implementation memos, the Department of Homeland Security does not specify whether street-level agreements will be made available again to local agencies, although it leaves open the possibility.

“It is the policy of the executive branch to empower state and local law enforcement agencies across the country to perform the functions of an immigration officer in the interior of the United States to the maximum extent permitted by law,” the memos say.

In addition to restricting the 287(g) program, the Obama administration narrowed the categories of illegal immigrants targeted for deportation to convicted felons, national security threats, and recent arrivals. By the end of Obama’s eight years as president, the administration didn’t consider around 90 percent of the country’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants a priority for deportation, the Migration Policy Institute determined.

Interior removals—deportations of illegal immigrants who are not residing at or near the border—decreased by 71 percent during Obama’s presidency, from 237,941 in fiscal 2009 to 69,478 in fiscal 2015, according to ICE data.illegalalienvoters-300x300

The Obama administration had instructed local law enforcement officials to follow the narrow priorities set by the federal government. However, the Migration Policy Institute found that some jurisdictions did not always follow that direction, and sought to have ICE deport “nearly 100 percent of potentially removable immigrants they encounter.”

Trump’s orders, by contrast, instruct federal immigration officers to deport not only those convicted of crimes, but also those who aren’t charged but are believed to have committed “acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”

“The No. 1 limitation of the ability to remove people from inside the United States is finding them,” said Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center and a former policy adviser at the Department of Homeland Security.

“Trump is expanding the net of people who are removable, but a few thousand ICE officers don’t have such a great chance of encountering them, especially in small jurisdictions,” Brown told The Daily Signal. “Criminal aliens, or those suspected of crimes, are much more likely to encounter state and local police. It’s up to the localities to decide how to follow Trump’s guidance. There’s always friction because there’s different priorities at different levels of government.”

Renewed Interest in Local Partnerships

Since it became clear Trump embraces the 287(g) program, some local agencies already are eager to engage with ICE, even if the partnership exists only in jails. Last month, A.J. Louderback, the Republican sheriff of Jackson County in Texas, signed such an agreement with ICE. Louderback, who is also legislative director of the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas, said more than 10 other counties in the state have expressed interest in brokering new partnerships with the federal government.

“We need to make sure our criminal aliens are handled consistently throughout Texas and throughout the U.S.,” Louderback told The Daily Signal.

“And the best way we can do it, the most efficient way we can do it, is to cooperate with ICE to make sure each criminal foreign-born alien is properly vetted before we let them out of jail.”amen

In the jail model, trained local officers interview inmates about their immigration status and identify potentially removable illegal immigrants to ICE. When booked, all new inmates are asked to state their place of birth and nationality. If an inmate indicates he is a noncitizen and foreign-born, the officer screens him by accessing a federal database that includes information about immigration status and history, then consults with an ICE supervisor. If the local officer discovers that the person is an unauthorized immigrant, the officer may issue a detainer. This allows the jail to hold the inmate 48 hours past the normal release time before transferring the inmate to ICE custody. ICE then would decide whether to pursue removal proceedings against the illegal immigrant.

Aside from training local officers chosen to carry out immigration enforcement duties, and providing and installing associated equipment, ICE does not pay for any costs associated with implementing the program. The local agency bears the costs.

In Prince William County, the sheriff’s office currently operates the 287(g) program through the jail. The police department’s agreement with ICE ended in 2012, after the Obama administration stopped allowing enforcement by local officers in the streets.

Prince William’s Stewart says ICE has trained eight officers in the county jail who do nothing but check immigration status. He does not expect or want the county to expand into street-level enforcement, Stewart said, but is hopeful for one change under the Trump administration. In previous administrations, he told The Daily Signal, ICE did not notify the county on whether the federal agency deported or released illegal immigrants after local officials transferred them to federal custody. ICE held that such information was private.

Local police rearrested 14 percent of the more than 7,400 illegal immigrants handed over to ICE since 2008, Stewart said.

“What changes now is a belief that Trump will keep his word and we will finally see the federal government deporting the illegal aliens we have handed over to them,” Stewart said.

Resistance Remains

Despite some renewed interest in 287(g), the program faces resistance from some states as well as so-called sanctuary cities, which limit cooperation in enforcing federal immigration law.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week that the city would cooperate in cases involving “proven public safety threats,” but vowed that “what we will not do is turn our NYPD officers into immigration agents.”deport-politicians

The Major Cities Chiefs Association, an organization made up of dozens of senior law enforcement executives from the nation’s largest cities, rejects the policy of enlisting local or state officers in immigration enforcement.

“We do not believe local police should be involved in civil immigration enforcement,” Darrel Stephens, executive director of the association, told The Daily Signal. “We do have a responsibility, however, to enforce criminal laws regardless of one’s immigration status. Our agencies work with ICE on a range of programs involving human trafficking, gang enforcement, and the like.”

In Texas, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, a newly elected Democrat, terminated a 287(g) partnership with ICE in which 10 trained local deputies screened the immigration status of jailed suspects.

Adrian Garcia, a Democrat who served as Harris County sheriff from 2009 to 2015, told The Daily Signal that he tried to end an agreement with ICE that he inherited from his predecessor. During his tenure, Garcia said, Harris County altered the program so that local officers screened the immigration status only of “violent, serious” offenders in the jail, rather than all inmates.

The 23-year veteran of the Houston Police Department commended Gonzalez for ending the program.

“It was a constant battle to stay true to what I thought the goal should be, which was to go after the worst of the worst,” Garcia told The Daily Signal, adding:

It was important for me that the community never lost confidence in the police department. There was an increasing amount of feedback that people were not engaging with law enforcement as they could or should have.liberal-propaganda-hogwash

Evaluating Impact

Back in Prince William County, debate over the impact of its immigration enforcement program continues, even though it is less visible and contentious today operating strictly in the jail. A 2013 study published by the American Society of Criminology found that while the policy did not affect most forms of crime in the county (including robberies, drug offenses, and drunk driving), aggravated assaults declined 27 percent after the announcement of the original policy in July 2007.

Last year, 22 homicides occurred in the county, the highest total since local authorities began tracking them in 1975. The overall crime rate is at a 24-year low, however. Prince William’s noncitizen Hispanic population (legal and illegal) declined 23 percent from 2007 to 2009.

A 2010 study by the University of Virginia found that most of the arrests of illegal immigrants in 2009—about 70 percent—were for drunken driving, public drunkenness, and driving without a license. The study also showed that illegal immigrants committed a relatively small percentage of the county’s serious crimes—6 percent in 2009.

Experts say it’s difficult to connect crime and population trends to the county’s immigration policy, since illegal immigrants were committing a small percentage of serious crimes, and the policy’s implementation coincided with the economic downturn. Thomas Guterbock, the director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Survey Research, said that overall, the policy had achieved its intended effect.

“As Prince William County showed, these programs can be effective in doing what they are intended to do—finding undocumented persons who have committed crimes or serious violations of immigration law,” Guterbock told The Daily Signal. “If done carefully, they could be made to work behind the scenes as a fairly quiet and unbiased way to find and deal with those people.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Josh Siegel

Josh Siegel is the news editor for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Josh.

Cartoon: Problems on the Playground


waving flagDrawn and Posted by Glenn Foden / / February 19, 2016

DSig-Feb 18-SCOTUS-Recovered

Kim Holmes wrote earlier this week on the Supreme Court.

The stakes are high—very high. Finding a replacement for deceased Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia will be a battle royale. But why should one government official’s position be so existentially important? Yes, control of the Supreme Court hangs in the balance, but that raises the question as to why the Court itself is so powerful. Could it be that the answer to that question tells us something about our increasing inability to govern ourselves as a free people?

Let’s face it. Ever since at least the 1960s (and frankly even before) we have increasingly allowed the Supreme Court to decide controversial issues we have been unwilling to solve legislatively.

From civil rights to abortion to the issue of gay marriage, the high court has ruled on key issues well outside the legislative process. New constitutional rights were created out of whole cloth. If abortion couldn’t be legalized at the ballot box, or if gay marriage could not be made lawful by Congress or the states, a majority of the Supreme Court—a mere five people—would step in and do it for us. Using the power of judicial review, a new policy would be imposed simply by redefining it as a constitutional right.

The practice of judicial fiat is so commonplace we seldom realize how radical it is. We are, quite simply, losing our sovereign power to govern ourselves. We have allowed the courts in general but the Supreme Court in particular to become too powerful.Picture13

We are, quite simply, losing our sovereign power to govern ourselves.

No single government official outside the president should be so important that his or her replacement could shift the course and destiny of the nation. And yet that is precisely the case with finding a replacement for Scalia. No matter which way it goes, the next Supreme Court justice will decide the balance of power of an institution that has arguably become more powerful than the Congress and as powerful (at least) as the presidency.

This was not what the Founders intended. Sure, we live in the modern age where a lot of water has flowed under the bridge of judicial review, but that’s precisely the problem. We have allowed those waters over time to become a flood, swamping in some cases the high court’s main purposes of safeguarding our existing rights and preserving the rule of law.

The irony should not be lost on us that it has been primarily liberal activists who have tried to hijack the court to get by judicial fiat what they could not obtain legislatively. For all their professed love of “democracy”—rule by the people—they have resorted to tactics that actually overturn laws passed legitimately by democratic legislatures.SCOTUS GIANT

The very insularity that the Founders had intended to protect the high court from the political passions of the times now serves those passions outright. It is not uncommon for Supreme Court justices to decide cases based on what they think—perhaps “divine” is a better word—the people or legislators really want. Perhaps based on opinion polls, for example, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy may have thought he was merely delivering what the people wanted when he decided in favor of gay marriage. But in doing so, he was overturning actual democratic votes that over the past ten years showed a 60.93-percent to 39.07-percent majority against gay marriage when the issue had been placed on the ballot.

Should not actual votes count more than opinion polls?

As I explain in my forthcoming book,The Closing of the Liberal Mind”:

Ultimately judicial activism is harmful not only to constitutional government but to democratic self-governance. When judges try to ram through their policy preferences by contorting texts, abusing precedents, and making up new constitutional rights, they undermine the credibility of both the Constitution and democracy.

That is why, now more than ever, the next Supreme Court justice must be someone who respects not only the original intent of the Constitution—what Scalia called “originalism”—but the need to restrict the policy activist role played by the court. Nothing less is at stake than our ability to govern ourselves as a free people.

Picture1 In God We Trust freedom combo 2

Trump Telling GOP Brass He Will Forgo A Third-Party Run: Sources


waving flagPosted by , Senior Politics Editor, The Huffington Post and Washington Bureau Chief, The Huffington Post

URL of the original posting site: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-telling-gop-brass-he-will-forego-a-third-party-run-sources_55de06eae4b04ae4970577d3?kvcommref=mostpopular

WASHINGTON – Businessman Donald Trump has told several top Republicans that he will swear off the possibility of an independent bid and commit to running his presidential campaign under the party’s banner, according to several sources. Such a move could endear Trump further to Republican voters who have remained skeptical about his allegiance to a political party he joined relatively recently. Trump had drawn sharp criticism from GOP leaders concerned that a third party bid would effectively guarantee a Democratic win in the general election.

“I know you don’t need any advice, but I’m going to give you some. You will do better in the Republican primaries if you just swear off the third party, because a lot of Republicans will never vote for someone who, like Ross Perot, will hand the election to a Democrat,” influential radio host Hugh Hewitt told Trump during an interview in early August.

“I’ve never heard it put so strongly,” Trump responded. “When you said it the way you said it, that’s very interesting, so I’ll be thinking about that.”

Michael Cohen, a top Trump aide, did not go so far as to confirm that the businessman would take the step of forsaking a run as an independent. But he did tell The Huffington Post that Trump never had “any intent” of campaigning as anything other than a Republican. “He just wanted to ensure that the establishment would treat him as fair as they would treat any of the other candidates,” Cohen said. “And I believe, right now, they are treating him fairly. It is my personal belief that the RNC is treating Mr. Trump the same as the other candidates, and he will live up to his agreement not to run as an independent.”

Trump, for his part, has long said that he was holding out the possibility of an independent run as leverage. But according to sources, he has since determined that the threat was harmful to his current chances.

A spokesman for the Republican National Committee did not return a request for comment.

A top Republican source, however, cautioned that any decision Trump will reportedly make should be considered a loose commitment at best, since he is known for his political impulsiveness. A stray insult from a fellow Republican could, theoretically, change his calculus.

“[Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger] Ailes thought he had a deal, too.  Then Trump called Megyn Kelly a bimbo, again,” noted one GOP operative, referencing the supposed truce between the network chief and Trump. Asked specifically if Trump would be making a formal announcement, Cohen replied, “Only Mr. Trump can sign that oath. And when he does, you can rest assured, he will live by it.”

During an interview with Hewitt on Wednesday after this story was published, Trump was asked about it  whether he would forgo an independent run. “It’s not something I want to do and at some point I will actually totally commit,” he said, in reference to formally running as a Republican.  “I didn’t think it was appropriate to commit during the debate,” he went on. “You know, I was a little surprised they even asked me at the debate but that was OK. But at some point, look, I want to run, I’m leading in the polls by a lot, I want to run as a Republican.  I want to get the nomination and I want to beat the Democrats.”
This story has been updated to include Trump’s comments to Hewitt on Wednesday.
no more rinos Cannot fix RINOS In God We Trust freedom combo 2

Who Loses Under EPA’s Clean Power Plan?


waving flagPosted by Photo of Michael Bastasch Michael Bastasch;  08/04/2015

The Obama administration unveiled the linchpin of its global warming agenda Monday: a 1560-page regulation called the “Clean Power Plan.” The goal of the Clean Power Plan is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 32 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. The EPA claims the plan will benefit the economy and the environment by reducing asthma attacks, creating jobs in the green energy sector and showing the world the U.S. is committed to fighting global warming. All of this ahead of a major United Nations climate summit this winter.EPA Monster

Put simply, the new agenda is a massive undertaking, and one that’s already facing legal challenges from a coalition of states and the coal industry. There are going to be clear winners and losers with this rule. Red states, fossil fuel companies and even blue dog Democrats stand to lose out — not to mention all the families who will be hit with higher energy bills.

Is EPA Punishing Red States?

The EPA’s cuts to CO2 emissions could cost states billions of dollars in the coming decades. States are forced to find ways to cut emissions based on certain building blocks set forth by EPA. But this could be costly for energy-intensive states, like North Dakota, with grids and economies that rely on lots of coal power, and oil and natural gas production.

There’s another interesting dynamic underlying the EPA’s rules. The Daily Caller News Foundation examined the data and found that red states were among those hit with the biggest, and likely costliest, emissions reduction mandates.

Of the ten states with the biggest CO2 reduction mandates, eight are dominated by Republicans and only two are Democratic. On the flip side, the states with the lowest CO2 reduction mandates are overwhelmingly liberal — six are Democrat and only four are Republican.

TheDCNF looked at which party controlled each chamber of the state legislature and the governorship to determine control. For example, Republicans control both chambers of the South Dakota legislature and there’s a Republican governor. We considered that state Republican. On the other hand, Montana has a Democratic governor but a Republican-controlled legislature. We’d also consider that state Republican since two of the three groups looked at were GOP-controlled.

Republican states were among those that saw the highest increases in their CO2 mandates from the EPA’s proposal to the final rule, according to Politico Pro. Some 16 states had their emissions targets increased by the EPA, but the agency also loosened targets for 31 states.

Politico reported that while North Dakota “enjoyed the lowest emission reduction goal in the proposed rule,” the state “saw that goal more than quadruple in the final rule to 44.9 percent.”

“Other states saw significant increases in their goals as well. Montana’s goal increased by 26.3 percentage points to 47.4 percent. Iowa’s went up 25.4 points, to a 41.5 percent reduction. And Wyoming’s goal went up 25.3 points to a 44.3 percent reduction,” according to Politico.

“On the other hand, 24 states saw their goals reduced. Washington’s declined the most, down 34.6 percentage points to 37.2 percent,” Politico reported. “Oregon dropped 28.1 points to 20 percent, and New York went down 24.7 points to 19.5 percent.”

Before drawing too many conclusions, it’s worth noting that red states are likely being hurt the most because they rely more heavily on coal for their energy needs. These states also tend to be major energy producing states, like North Dakota, Wyoming and West Virginia.

States that rely too much on coal will have the toughest time complying with the Clean Power Plan because burning coal emits much more CO2 than burning natural gas. The EPA says it bases its reduction targets on what’s “achievable.” The agency sees coal-reliant states as having much more work to do when it comes to reducing emissions than states relying more on natural gas and green energy, as many Democrat-controlled states do.

The fact is that far more states saw their emissions targets reduced from the EPA’s proposal last year. Even so, states are still going to have a tough time complying with their targets no matter what since the Clean Power Plan essentially forces them to restructure their electricity markets and regulations.

Is This An Attack On Fracking?

The Clean Power Plan has also been seen as an attack on natural gas-fired power, which has been made economical due to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of shale. The oil and gas industry is worried the EPA’s rule ignores the role natural gas can play in reducing carbon dioxide emissions — when burned for electricity, natural gas emits less CO2 than coal. The Financial Times reported that the “US shale gas is the unexpected loser from President Barack Obama’s climate plan, as the White House abandons its previous enthusiasm for natural gas as a cleaner alternative to coal.”Indenification of Obama

In recent years, the U.S. has become the world’s largest producer of natural gas thanks to hydraulic fracturing, which involves injecting water, sand and some chemicals deep underground to unlock hydrocarbons trapped in shale formations. But industry leaders fear EPA could harm the industry. “With the reported shift in the plan, we believe the White House is perpetuating the false choice between renewables and gas,” Martin Durbin, president of America’s Natural Gas Alliance, told Oil and Gas Journal. “We don’t have to slow the trend toward gas in order to effectively and economically use renewables.”EPA-Chopper-590AEA

Reports have come out, mainly with support from environmentalists and green energy backers, declaring the Clean Power Plan downplays natural gas’ role in reducing U.S. emissions. Instead, reports indicate the EPA is focusing on boosting green energy instead of gas. “With or without new regulations, gas will continue to grow as a critical source of clean energy, but EPA’s rule does more harm than good,” Howard Feldman with the American Petroleum Institute told OGJ.

Major natural gas producing states have also been hit with steep emissions targets mandated by the EPA. Texas, the country’s largest oil and gas producer, must reduce power plant emissions 33.5 percent below 2012 levels by 2030. The state gets twice as much energy from natural gas as it does from coal.

Democratic-led Pennsylvania is also being hit with tough emissions reductions mandates from EPA. The state must reduce emissions 34.9 percent by 2030. Pennsylvania is now the country’s second-largest natural gas producer thanks to fracking in the Marcellus Shale. The state even gets 37 percent of its electricity from nuclear, while coal and natural gas each provide slightly less. EPA-torture-600-AEA-378x257

Blue Dog Dems Backstabbed By Obama

What’s probably most interesting about energy states being hit hard by the Clean Power Plan, is that many of them also sport Democratic lawmakers who are now put in a tough position.

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp called the rule a “slap in the face,” according to Politico Pro. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin criticized the rule for being “utterly unrealistic.” Both of these lawmakers opposed the rule since its proposal, but now their states are some of the hardest hit.

North Dakota and West Virginia were initially given some of the smallest state emissions reductions targets by the EPA. In June 2014, the EPA said North Dakota would only have to reduce emissions 10.6 percent and West Virginia 19.8 percent by 2030. Now these states have to make much deeper cuts than the EPA initially told them. “Our President and his Administration think our country can do without coal, and they are dead wrong. They are in denial,” Manchin said in a statement condemning the rule.

Montana Democrats, who originally supported the rule, are now reeling after the EPA announced the state would have to reduce emissions even more than was initially proposed by the agency last year. Montana now has one of the highest CO2 emissions reduction mandates of any state. Montana’s Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock complained that the EPA “moved the goal post on us,” saying that while “we need to address climate change” but added that “how we do so has to work for Montana.” The Montana’s AFL-CIO branch actually planned a press call in support of the rule, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, but it was cancelled after the union found out the EPA had increased the “reduction requirement.” The group called it a “gut punch.”

Even Democratic Sen. Jon Tester was cautious in his statement on the Clean Power Plan’s release, not condemning it but also not celebrating it being finalized. Tester told the Chronicle he needed “more time to review it to ensure it works for Montana and creates healthier communities and a stronger economy.”
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Mark Steyn: The Confederate flag is a Democratic problem


waving flagPosted by    Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 8:30am | 6/25/2015 – 8:30am

“The Democratic party has never come to terms with the evil of its past”

Confederate Flag racist mark stein sean hannity republican the confederate flag is a democrat problem

History has a way of bastardizing politically expedient talking points. For example, the Republican party’s long-standing though not widely reported history of standing athwart the institution of slavery. As it turns out in 1987, then Governor Clinton boasted that the blue star on the Arkansas State flag was an homage to the Confederacy. Oops. Guess the New York Times forgot about that.inconvenient truth

Mark Steyn joined Sean Hannity Wednesday to discuss the Confederate flag issue. “The idea that Republicans can have the Confederate flag hung around their necks is ridiculous, it’s a Democrat flag. The states that seceded during the Civil War were all Democrat states. That’s their flag.  The slave states were democrat states, the racist states until the 1960s were Democrat states. The Democratic party was the largest and most powerful institution supporting slavery in the English speaking world, and it is the only one that has survived to the twenty-first century.”

flag

“It’s their flag,” Steyn continued. “Hillary Clinton had it campaign bumper stickers when she ran for president in 2008. You mentioned Robert C. Byrd, Bill Clinton was doing Klu Klux Klan jokes at Robert C. Byrd’s funeral!”f698a-cinjy1luyaaut8v 25683-cino0cauyaaqhcc-jpg-large

Despite their racist past, the Democratic party has thrived for over 150 years, there’s simply nothing like it in the planet, Steyn noted. “People talk about apartheid Africa, the national party came to power in 1948 and they were gone 45 years later, that’s how long they lasted and they’re nothing now.”

“The Democratic party has never come to terms with the evil of its past,” said Steyn.

While I refuse to argue the Confederate flag should be a state symbol (it should not), the fact that Democrats chose to exploit mental illness and tragedy to pretend the entire South (which happens to be solidly Republican) is racist, is perfectly illustrative of egregious historical ignorance. Epidemic of racism

Thank GOD I’m not a Democrat. How embarrassing that must be.confused

freedom combo 2

Donald Trump’s seemingly crazy claim about America’s schools in his presidential announcement is mostly true


waving flagReported by  Abby Jackson, Jun. 16, 2015

DES MOINES, IA – MAY 16: Businessman Donald Trump speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa’s Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Donald Trump officially threw his hat into the 2016 presidential race on Tuesday, and during his speech he took a swing at what he believes is America’s failing school system. “Twenty-five countries are better than us at education,” he said. “And some of them are like third-world countries.” But is that an accurate statement, or simply hyperbole?

To fact-check that claim we took a look at the international test most widely used as a tool for measuring education systems worldwide, the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA. The PISA exam is a worldwide study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and it measures 15-year-olds in 65 countries in math, science, and reading.

The US scores notoriously low on the PISA. In 2012, the most recent time the PISA was conducted, the US ranked 35th in math, 27th in science, and 24th in reading. It ranked below the OECD average in every category.

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So, Trump’s claim that 25 countries are better at education than the US seems to be a fairly accurate point to make.

The second part of Trump’s statement, that some third-world countries beat the US, is a bit more nuanced to unpack. For starters, the term “third world” is a vague descriptor that means different things to different people. The term was birthed during the Cold War to refer to countries that were aligned with neither NATO nor the Communist Bloc.

With the fall of the Soviet Union, the term has morphed to be more of a catchall term for developing or poor countries. As such, there is no authoritative list of third-world countries.

Still, we took a look at the countries with the lowest gross national income (GNI) based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) per capita in international dollars, as a proxy for a list of “third-world countries.” For the most part, the countries that beat the US are also economically strong. Those countries include China, Singapore, and Germany.

But one country that beat the US is significantly poorer than those countries: Vietnam. The comparable average income of a citizen of Vietnam is $5,070 yearly, compared with $53,470 for the US. Vietnam beat the US in both math and science.

So even though it sounds outlandish to make that claim, “The Donald” makes a fair point about the US’ educational system.

His announcement marks the first time he will actively seek the Republican nomination, though he has toyed with the idea in the past. The real-estate mogul gave a characteristically boisterous performance. He spoke in an off-the-cuff manner and made some pretty big claims, such as, “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”

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GOP motorcycle ride and pig roast draws seven presidential hopefuls – and major media coverage


Sen. Joni Ernst, shown here on her prized Harley Davidson, will lead a 40-mile motorcyle ride on Saturday - joined by Gov. Scott Walker and Rick Perry. (Image from Sen. Joni Ernst)
Sen. Joni Ernst, shown here on her prized Harley Davidson, will lead a 40-mile motorcyle ride on Saturday – joined by Gov. Scott Walker and Rick Perry. (Image from Sen. Joni Ernst) more >

 

This pig roast could trump a certain steak fry – and it will certainly go down as a moment in Republican pop culture history. That would be “Joni’s First Annual Roast and Ride,” a bodacious event on Saturday organized by Sen. Joni Ernst. It includes a 40-mile motorcycle ride across the Iowa countryside to honor military veterans – boasting good cheer, thudding bikes and a full police escort – naturally led by the Republican herself, a combat vet and a Harley fan. Next up on the agenda: “a big pig roast,” the lawmaker says, plus a political rally of the old school kind with much speechifying, plenty of good eats and a country rock band.

The event has drawn seven Republican presidential hopefuls and major media as well.

The inaugural Roast and Ride is already being compared to former Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry, a tradition the Iowa Democrat kept going for four decades. Some locals are whispering that the Ernst party could best the Harkin fete; the barbecue gurus expect to serve 700 pounds of pork alone as the afternoon goes on.

There’s spectacle – and photo ops. Indeed, GOP candidates hopefuls will line up at the podium, including Gov. Scott Walker and Rick Perry. Both plan to make the ride aboard Harley hogs from the excursion’s starting point outside of Des Moines, meandering northwards to Boone. They’ll likely be front and center on the line.

Also on hand: Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio. The quiet word among organizers is that Mrs. Ernst offered Mr. Rubio a spot on the back of her bike – but he turned the offer down, apparently. The candidates have also been encouraged to try their hand at horseshoes, wiffle ball and perhaps some artful pork chop flipping.

Gov. Scott Walker rides his 2003 Harley Davidson Road King (image from Gov. Scott Walker)
Gov. Scott Walker rides his 2003 Harley Davidson Road King (image from … more >

Prominent politicos and conservative stalwarts will also be in the crowd, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Sens. Chuck Grassley and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, plus Reps. Steve King and David Young.

The press is eager, to say the least. C-SPAN, of course, will be there to bear witness to the big doings from 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, along with the FOX News Channel, which has sent senior correspondent John Roberts to the Hawkeye State. CNN, will feature chief Congressional correspondent Dana Bash who will interview Mrs. Ernst herself, along with Mssrs. Cotton, Graham and Perry. ABC News is also poised for coverage, showcasing their finds on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

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