Legislature Ponders Fix for Kansas Supreme Court Threat to AMAs

For those of you who are Kansas residents or operate elsewhere but feed cattle in Kansas, this information is critical for you.  A bill is ready for a conference vote very soon in the Kansas legislature that could bolster your ability to participate in branded beef programs and alliances.  We received the information below plus response options from the Kansas Livestock Association Wednesday morning, April 3:

Please contact your [Kansas] Senator and Representative and ask for a yes vote on the SB 124 Conference Report.

The Kansas Legislature likely will vote on the conference report for SB 124 in the next 24 hours. SB 124 reforms the Kansas Restraint of Trade Act to correct a 2012 Kansas Supreme Court decision. The decision jeopardizes the legality of alternative marketing arrangements and forward contracts used by beef industry participants.

Click on the link below to go to the KLA Capwiz site and submit your request.

Let me know if you have any questions. If you would prefer to call your legislator, you can find phone numbers at www.kslegislature.org or call the KLA office (785-273-5115) and we’ll help you.

Thanks for your help.

http://capwiz.com/beefusa/ks/home/

 

Published in: on April 3, 2013 at 11:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Finally, Some Great News from Washington!

“Richard Windsor” Ducking Out During Investigations?

The woman most dangerous to America’s economy has announced she will leave her post in January.

Lisa Jackson, EPA administrator and the person most blindly loyal to man-made global warming dogma, no matter the (lack of) facts and the cost to man-made economies, has announced she will resign after President Obama’s State of the Union message.

We wrote after the election that while Obama had been elected for another four years, that didn’t mean he would have real political power for that long a time.  Benghazi, Holder’s “Fast and Furious” and Jackson’s scandalous disregard for law could definitely hobble his political clout, at the least.

Jackson has been one of the Obama lieutenants most willing to run roughshod over statutory limitations, most willing to allow bureaucrats to write their own rules (notice there was no Congressional debate over our new mileage standards this time) and totally ignored legal reporting requirements regarding her regulatory agenda.  Most of all, time and again, Jackson has proven oblivious to the economic cost or the impact on industries and jobs from paralyzing regulations hobbling fundamental industries like oil, gas, electricity, transportation and, in effect, all manufacturing and production.

Why now?  We’ve only touched on her illegal use of dummy e-mail accounts, apparently under the name “Richard Windsor.”  The suspicion is that she used alias e-mail accounts to coordinate and prepare new policy initiatives under the radar, avoiding any of the dreaded “transparency” Obama promised.  The Inspector General and Congressional committees are investigating.

While the term “fugitive dust” was not coined on Jackson’s watch at EPA, she was the first official to try to ratchet the limits on “particulate matter” down to the level where pickups on gravel roads would violate Clean Air standards.

Either way, Jackson leaves dozens of proposed regulations and new rules affecting nearly all productive industry and employment, with many impacts yet to be fully addressed.  As shocking and far reaching as her bold attacks on the economy — one coal industry official termed Jackson’s attack on his industry a “regulatory jihad” — the New York Times actually said that Jackson’s departure “comes as many in the environmental movement are questioning Mr. Obama’s commitment to dealing with climate change…”

So maybe Jackson is leaving because in four years, she has not made good on Obama’s messiah-like promise to keep the seas from rising??

Published in: on December 27, 2012 at 10:40 pm  Comments (2)  

Election Notes

Federal Agencies Holding Back Flood

Several times in recent months federal agencies, especially the EPA, have announced delays in proposed regulations.  It would be hard not to suspect there were political motivations in doing so.  Needing all the votes they could get, it behooved agencies not to further enrage groups like producers of energy, food and electricity or the workers who create those things.

But talk show host Mark Levin has really put a point on it.  Back in August, his Landmark Legal Foundation filed suit to try to force the EPA to reveal just how big a tidal wave of regulations it was holding back until after the election.  It also asked for expedited treatment of the request because of the short time frame until an election on which the information could have a bearing.

To no one’s shock, the EPA has not responded with information.  Part of Levin’s contention is that the EPA has habitually ignored Constitutional limitations and exceeded its authority.  Later filings noted that in a related case, EPA was held in contempt for violating a court order, erasing computer hard drives and backup tapes that could have contained related information.

At the recent North American Meat Association convention, Washington political observers indicated other federal agencies, including USDA and FDA, appeared to be pulling the same trick.  A whole raft of federal regulations is expected right after the election if the president is reelected.  But a veritable deluge would come if the president is defeated and it could be expected agency power could be reined in.

Barone Provides Perspective on Polls

Michael Barone, the election expert even Karl Rove willingly plays second fiddle to, provided some interesting commentary on the poll data we’re seeing in this election cycle.

Amid new polls by National Public Radio and CBS/N.Y. Times both indicating Mitt Romney has a 12-point lead over President Obama among independent voters, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked Barone why this kind of data doesn’t seem to be reflected in swing state polls(11/01/12).

Barone explained that pollsters are struggling to adapt to new conditions.  They are operating under polling theory developed when Americans had a land line phone and answered it when it rang.  Now, government statistics show one-third of households are cell-phone only households, with a major effect on polling normally conducted primarily on the telephone.

Barone suspects pollsters are operating with a “loose screen” when qualifying voters.  That means when asking registered voters screening questions designed to find out whether they were likely voters — the subset which is a more accurate indicator group of election results — Barone thinks the questions are designed to make sure too many don’t get screened out.  The need for total survey numbers to validate polls is too urgent to turn many potential respondents away.  But the accuracy of the results may suffer from less stringent screening.

Barone also noted absentee requests and absentee votes by party have drastically shifted in Ohio, for example, as one of the indicators political observers are using to read shifting conditions.  He also said virtually all data has shown the enthusiasm among Republican voters is significantly higher than Democrats this year.  He added that there also is no evidence that if President Obama were to win, he would win by the margin he enjoyed in 2008.

Published in: on November 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm  Comments (1)  

Japan’s Process for Changing Beef Rules Is Grinding On

While both the USMEF and NCBA have said encouraging things this year regarding the possibility of Japan’s beef import regulations joining the international standard of cattle up to 30 months of age, published reports from Japan today indicated official progress.

The wheels of progress grind exceedingly slow, however.  Last December, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry in Japan requested an assessment of imported beef safety and proposed raising the age limit from 20 to 30 months, according to The Japan Times (“Beef Import Rules May Be Eased Next Year,” Sept. 5, 2012.)  Since that time, a 13-member panel of experts — part of the Food Safety Commission — has been studying the issue.  They have “agreed to compile a report that would allow the regulations” to be amended.

The Food Safety Commission will “canvass public opinions” regarding the proposal for about a month before officially reporting recommendations to the Health, Labor and
Welfare Ministry.  No one has yet commented on the tenor of expected public comment.

It is uncertain exactly when the new rules would go into effect.  The Japan Times estimated early next year, while an AP story indicated late in 2012 is possible.  The rule adjustments would affect beef from the U.S., Canada, France and the Netherlands.

Published in: on September 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Obama’s America: What Would It Be Like?

Some time ago we picked up a copy of “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.”  By Dinesh D’Souza, the book examines the fact that Obama’s autobiographical book is entitled “Dreams From My Father” not “Dreams Of My Father.”  That is, Obama’s book is not about remembrances of his father but it is explaining the dreams his father — a 1950s African socialist citizen of a British colony (Kenya) who hated Britain and the West — had for the future of the world.

Now D’Souza not only has a follow up book, “Obama’s America: 2016” but a movie based on the book will begin appearing in theaters this week.  We’ll be there opening night in Colorado Friday, August 17.  This book and the movie envisions what America will look like after a second Obama administration, with no re-election concerns to hinder his agenda.

The movie adds further movie screens to its list for each of the first few weeks.

Click here to go to the movie’s website, including release dates for your area and/or links to online ticket sales.

 

Published in: on August 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Factors Affecting Oil Prices & How

I’m surprised at how normally good analysts trip up on the subject of oil and gas.  President Obama has been blah-blah-blahing on the stump that the supply of oil has nothing to do with the price of oil and gas.  Some folks have chipped in that supply is not the problem because the demand for oil has slacked off.  Really, guys, this is not that complicated.

 
U.S. demand has slacked off for two key reasons: 1) we can’t buy as much gas as we’d like to because it’s so expensive.  We’d travel more and drive more but we can’t; 2) the economy is so bad: businesses who’ve gone out of business, people who don’t have jobs, businesses who aren’t growing and new businesses who aren’t being created don’t need gasoline for traveling, shipping goods, manufacturing goods or running their business.  We are actually exporting oil and refined products because stronger economies than ours can afford to pay for it and our economy is not generating that kind of strength.
 
People are screaming about speculators.  Why is there an opportunity for speculators?  Because the green enviro-zealots have taken control of our government, so that instead of supplying nearly all of our oil from our own sources like we could, we are in a position where significant percentages of our oil must come from great distances, through vital choke points like the Straits of Hormuz and from dictators and radical governments whose behavior is unpredictable and often hostile.  We don’t even have sense enough to maximize our purchases from friendly next-door neighbors, as evidenced by Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline after three years of “study.”
 
Does supply matter?  If we pumped or bought from Canada and Mexico 90-95 percent of our oil, our markets wouldn’t tremble when Hugo Chavez goes to Cuba for more cancer treatment, with no obvious reading of who will control Venezuela’s large flow of oil if Hugo checks out permanently.  Iran makes more money every time they rattle sabers over the Straits or snarl at Israel again.  We have voluntarily handed people like this the whip hand over our oil supplies; therefore, over a key economic engine.
 
Does supply matter?  Ask the natural gas folks.  For the first time in recent history we have ample supplies of natural gas because of technologies government hasn’t yet taken away and accidents of geography (private land vs. government land).  The price of natural gas has come down to relatively cheap levels.  Supply, and the nature of supply lines, does matter.
 
Does our woeful economic policy matter?  Yes, it does.  Oil is priced in dollars.  As our government continually weakens its financial position by spending money it doesn’t have, borrowing from less-predictable parts of the world, following an anti-free market economic policy that worsens our long-term economic strength for all the world to see, the dollar falls.  As our government accelerates the process by printing money with nothing behind it but more stacks of paper and barrels of ink, our currency’s value will continue to erode and the price of oil will rise in compensation.
 
Supply, more specifically, our own domestic supply and that from next-door, friendly neighbors, still matters.  For the president or anyone else to claim it doesn’t, is either a deceptive diversion or ignorance of the facts.
Published in: on March 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Private Property Bill Passes House

H.R. 1433, the bill the would prohibit federal, state and local governments from seizing private property via eminent domain powers for purposes of economic development passed the U.S. House Tuesday on a voice vote, according to Humanevents.com. 

The next step will be the Senate.  We have heard nothing yet regarding whether Senate Majority Leader will be willing to consider the bill or if he will have to be coerced or gone around through legislative legerdemain.  It’s not too early to contact your senators to help build a movement to bring the bill up.

The bill would protect land owners from the efforts governments have been exerting to take over property to hand over to private developers so as to boost their tax revenue base.  Eminent domain had been originally intended only to make roads, airports and utilities construction possible, with proper payment to the land owners.  Instead, governments have been seizing land or, through regulation, devaluing land without any recompense to owners at all.

Sadly, the humanevents.com story noted that the Connecticut land involved in the landmark Kelo Supreme Court case, lies vacant after the city and state spent $78 million to bulldoze the homes and buildings that had been there (“House Passes Bill to Fight Unfair Seizure of Private Property,” 02/29/12) . 

This bill would not bring Susan Kelo’s little pink house back to its block in New London but it would make it significantly harder for governments that are supposed to protect property owners instead become the rapers and confiscators.

The Senate switchboard is 202) 224-3121; for the Senate web page, click here.

Published in: on February 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm  Comments (6)  

How Big Government Works

Something struck me the other day – another trick big government’s advocates use to further expand its reach.  When there appears an area where government advocates want the government to take over control and provide for the people, they plant the idea in the culture that this or that service or product is a “right.”

 It doesn’t matter to them if the law or the Constitution regards it as a right.  That is not the point.  Even if the product or service could more appropriately be termed a “want,” not even a “need” much less a “right,” the issue is described as a “right” over and over, in the media, in communities and by advocacy groups, until many folks believe it is so.  Just because some things might make life better or easier for some people, does not make it a right, something that the federal government is obligated to provide.

 Yet so many of the things that, in total, swell our federal budget are regarded as “rights” by some segments of the electorate, even though there is no possible Constitutional authority for providing such products and services.  It is many of these faux “rights” that not only overwhelm our ability to pay for them but cloud the culture’s notion of individual freedom and individually responsibility.

 A perfect example of this technique has been provided recently over the questions regarding the federal government’s attempt to provide contraception and abortion services through Obamacare.  First, the notion has been planted and nurtured over recent decades by the left and women’s groups that such services and products are “rights,” regardless of an absolute lack of any Constitutional underpinning for such a notion.  Secondly, the sweeping health care law the left championed mandates that the “right” shall be provided.  Thirdly, the question of forcing the unwilling to accept the provision of such services or paying for them is treated as an assault on others’ Constitutional “rights.”  Fourthly, the objection to the federal government providing and mandating these “rights” is twisted by the big government advocates as falsely claiming the conservatives want to abolish anyone’s availability to contraception, that they want to outlaw it.

Published in: on February 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Measures of Our Distress

In a time of such economic turmoil, such volatility and such violently contrasting views of what is happening and how to make things better, economists are presenting some new angles of perspective all the time.

After recent unemployment numbers went up yet the official unemployment rate went down, the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore, delved into how that could be on Fox News.  Moore explained that, like the livestock and crop numbers we’re all used to, the unemployment numbers are survey numbers and projections, not actual counts.  Responders are asked whether they are employed, are you looking for a job or are you not looking for a job.

What isn’t talked about is the number of people who have quit looking for a job, have dropped out of the labor force.  Moore said the Journal regards a more important number the Workforce Participation Rate, that is, the percentage of people of working age in the workforce.  That number right now stands at 64 percent vs. 66-67 percent a few years ago.  That may not sound like a big difference, Moore said, but it represents 3 million jobs.

Another worrying figure that came up in the discussion was the long-term nature of much of the unemployed.  Moore said in January 2009, 2.69 million people had been unemployed for more than six months.  By January 2012, that number had climbed to 5.5 million.  We are 5 million jobs short of where we were in 2007, he noted.

Later on Fox News, financial commentator Eric Bolling noted another very compelling figure that not only affects our economic situation but also has a huge bearing on our political reality.  We have reached the point where 49.5 percent of our citizens are getting some payments from the federal government.  And the grand total of all those “entitlement” payments comes to $2.5 trillion – which is more money than the government takes in.

Published in: on February 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Congress Fights Obama’s Attack on American Wallets

Americans’ frustration with the Obama Administration’s hard line policy of favoring the green enviro-zealot position on nearly all things has taken a new turn.

 Congress is searching for some way to get the Keystone XL pipeline under construction.  Obama, as part of his sincere and aggressive policy of raising the cost of energy for every American, rich or poor, announced last week he would not approve the pipeline.

 Left unsaid by him, of course, was that he had to oppose the pipeline because it would create jobs in America, would increase the supply of oil, put downward pressure on oil and gas prices, would import oil from next door from a friendly ally instead of from some dictatorship or terrorist-supporting nation and bolster national security.  Most importantly, he had to oppose the pipeline because it would make gasoline cheaper for American citizens and that was unacceptable.

 Obama instead used the excuse that there wasn’t enough time to study the project’s impact in the 60-day period Congress had set in the recent payroll tax bill.

 Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX.), however, countered that flimsy excuse, noting that we “fought and won World War II in less time than it’s taken to evaluate this project.”  Jim Angle, Fox News correspondent, noted that the government has spent 40 months studying the project (1/25/12).  Angle added that the State Department approved the project after all that study.  It was only then that green groups started protesting, using as an excuse the fact that a portion of the pipeline was routed over the eastern end of the Nebraska Sand Hills.

 Despite the fact that any of Keystone’s spills on its existing pipelines – including one which would closely follow the route of the new one except through eastern Nebraska – could be carried off in five-gallon buckets, Obama put his foot down.

 But there appears to be no limits to how far out on a limb the Democrats will go to stop energy development.  They’re trying to refer to the pipeline as a Republican “earmark.”  They also began raising the question as to whether the Koch brothers – conservative business involved in the energy industry and financial supports of conservative causes – should be subpoenaed about the pipeline.

 At today’s hearing on a bill to go around the White House and give a federal commission authority over the pipeline application, Chairman of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee Ed Whitfield said he would not subpoena the Koch brothers because “Koch had nothing to do with this project.”  When Whitfield announce a hearing recess, Rep. Henry Waxman yelled out like he was part of an Occupy Washington protest.

 “ Are you going to call the Koch brothers during the recess?” Waxman yelled.

 The left must always resort to short slogans that will fit on bumper stickers, so their supporters can memorize the usually-illogical emotional reaction and have something to scream before security hauls them away.  Apparently, they have substituted the “Koch brothers” for “Halliburton,” as they are really chapped anyone would dare to oppose any of the myriad leftist public policy efforts funded by George Soros, numerous liberal foundations or unions.

 We doubt Waxman got hauled away but Whitfield didn’t roll over.  He responded to Waxman’s yell, as shown on Fox’s report.

 “Let me tell you something, “ Whitfield began with some heat, “if you want to talk about that, let’s talk about the millions of dollars the Obama Administration gave to companies like Solyndra…”

 We assume the committee got around to actually discussing the bill at hand, H.R. 3548, “North American Energy Access Act,” introduced by Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry.  The bill would remove authority to review and approve the pipeline from the State Department and authorize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to review and approve with some route adjustments from the state of Nebraska.  While the State Department has already approved the pipeline, as an executive branch department, the White House can overrule its decision.  Apparently, FERC has more autonomy.

 Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX.) has also just introduced a bill dubbed the “Keystone for a Secure Tomorrow Act of 2012 or “K-FAST” that would immediately approve the pipeline.  Other bills introduced to get the pipeline going include one by Rep. John Hoeven, (R-ND.)

 It’s about some time someone aggressively tries to counter this Administrations fervent efforts to bleed American citizens’ wallets by deliberately boost the cost of gasoline – and any industrial, manufacturing, agricultural and transportation industry that burns fuel to operate.

Published in: on January 25, 2012 at 6:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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