USDA to Revive GIPSA Rule

We haven’t had a chance to read it yet but USDA has sent out copies of the newest iteration of the “GIPSA Rule” as it will appear in the Federal Register tomorrow, beginning a 60-day comment period.

The Rule is split into three parts, with the first dealing with the poultry industry.  Part II deals with the definitions in section 202 a & b and requires 85 pages to handle.  This is an Interim Rule, and will go into effect 60 days after publication.  USDA will still take comments on this Interim Rule.  This section deals with the requirement to show harm to competition and looks even from the titles and descriptions to be a real problem.  In addition, it refers to USDA’s “longstanding interpretation” regarding harm to competition, something most of us never heard of before the 2010 Rule.  If USDA had an interpretation counter to nearly all federal court decisions, it was news to most livestock folks.

The third section of the Rule is to define “Unfair Practices” and “Undue Preferences” and requires 69 pages to address.  This section is a Proposed Rule, with comments being taken from 60 days after publication.

We will delve into the details very soon in our “AFF Sentinel” e-mail newsletter.  If you do not receive the Sentinel and would like to do, send us an e-mail at steve@agfreedom.org.

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Published in: on December 14, 2016 at 11:57 am  Leave a Comment  

McCarthy Withdraws As House Speaker Candidate

Instead of a secret ballot election today (Thursday) to select a candidate for House speaker, the election has been postponed after Rep. Kevin McCarthy withdrew as a candidate.

McCarthy evidently determined he could not get the votes he needed and told the gathered Republicans Thursday that he would withdraw. Evidently, his announcement significantly surprised the conference.

For now, Speaker Boehner remains and McCarthy is still majority leader. What evidently ensues now is a recalibration of the whole House leadership picture. The House Freedom Caucus has been mostly holding its 40 members together, with at least 30 of them indicating earlier this week that they would vote in a block for Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fl.). As the most conservative block in the House, they have been more and more outspoken in expressing the frustration voiced by many conservative Republican voters at the leadership not fighting for conservative causes.

Their message has been that the next speaker must significantly overhaul how the House operates, giving more voice to House members, rather than a top down management style.

Published in: on October 8, 2015 at 11:04 am  Leave a Comment  

TPA Finds Limbo

The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill narrowly passed the House Friday, garnering 219 votes, one over the minimum needed.  However, leadership had structured everything as a package, with the condition that the TPA bill would not advance to the president’s desk if an accompanying Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) did not also pass.  Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi threw her opposition to TAA as a last ditch effort to stop TPA.  As a result, TAA was soundly defeated, 126-302.  A related bill on customs and trade rule enforcement did also pass.

Sources in Washington indicated House leadership will bring back the TAA bill next week.

 

Memorial Day Tribute

Don's Poem

Published in: on May 25, 2015 at 2:40 am  Leave a Comment  

House Ag Committee Passes mCOOL Repeal Bill

The House Agriculture Committee Wednesday approved H.R. 2393, a bill to amend the Agriculture Marketing Act of 1946, by a recorded vote of 38-6.  This is the bill to repeal the mCOOL law for beef, pork and chicken products.

As of this writing, there is no information on when a possible floor vote on the bill is contemplated.  Thursday is the last scheduled session for the House until June 1.

The Senate has not taken any action on a repeal bill.  The Senate Agriculture Committee has a business meeting scheduled for Thursday morning but has not indicated an mCOOL bill will be discussed or voted upon.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts has indicated support for repealing the mCOOL law.  However, Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mi.) has issued a statement supporting the law, on the basis of consumer right-to-know theory.  As former chairman of the committee, she had pledged support of mCOOL repeal and then flip-flopped over a winter weekend with no explanation for those to whom she had indicated support.  Stabenow did not make any comment regarding her constituents who would have companies damaged and jobs hurt by retaliation over retaining the protectionist law.

Rocky Mountain Heist

It Could Happen to Your State

Many folks living elsewhere have noticed how the state of Colorado has moved from a historically conservative political state to a blue liberal state seemingly overnight. The story of how this happened is important to everyone because this “Colorado Model,” as it has been dubbed, is a model the liberal left wants to roll out in Texas and Virginia and then other states.

The model was to use significant amounts of money — in this case supplied largely by four wealthy liberals — to steamroll local elections for state senators and representatives and blow away opposition for the governor’s race. The preparation was all done very quietly, so that by the time Colorado Republicans discovered what was going on, it was too late. Both houses and the governorship were Democrat.

What followed was a barrage of mandates for renewable energy, the gun control laws that staggered rural and gun owner Coloradans and efforts on the gay and lesbian front.

The difficulties and cost of just coming up with the wind and solar power, plus transmission lines plus backup gas generation will cost Colorado citizens, especially farmers and manufacturers, billions of dollars over just a short period of time.

Want the full story to watch? Citizens United and Michelle Malkin have made a film about how this all happened. You can watch it this weekend and see a riveting and scary story unfold.

“Rocky Mountain Heist”

Here are the times and channels:

Newsmax TV (Dish Channel 223, DirecTv 349

Saturday, Oct. 25th 7-8:00 p.m. and 10:00 -11:00 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 26th 7-8:00 p.m. and 10:00 -11:00 p.m.

If you live in Colorado, KETD-TV Denver:

Saturday, Oct. 25th -7-8:00 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 26th 4-5:00 p.m.

Find out how elections and election laws, planning and money can “tree” a state reminiscent of politicians treeing a town in the old days.

Published in: on October 25, 2014 at 12:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Supreme Court Rules Against President Obama’s NLRB Appointments

The Supreme Court has ruled that President Obama’s disputed “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were invalid.  That means that all the decisions made by that illegally constituted board are null and void.  That includes rules and decisions that greatly eased labor unions’ ability to call for elections and unionize employers.  The board had drastically shortened the time period before elections happen and made it easier to call for elections, curtailing employers’ ability to explain their side of issues.

The Court ruled that Congress was not in recess at the time President Obama claimed they were; therefore, his Constitutional power to make recess appointments could not be exercised.  Experts saw the decision as one rebuke to President Obama’s tendency to assume sweeping executive power when Congress would not provide him with legislation he desired.  More details will be available when the final opinion is released.
Published in: on June 26, 2014 at 8:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Republican Jolly Wins Special Election

In a widely watched contest, Repubican David Jolly has won a special election over Democrat Alex Sink, a moderate female candidate the party thought could win in Pinellas County, Florida.  The election was held to find a replacement for the late long-time Republican Bill Young.  Jolly had been a Republican lobbyist.  Jolly won by roughly a two percent margin, with a Libertarian candidate getting five percent of the vote.  The district is a so-called swing district because though held by a Republican congressman for many years, President Obama won there twice.

The contest was widely seen as a referendum on Obamacare.  Jolly attacked Obamacare outright, while Sink said that she was not in Congress at the time, didn’t vote for it but favored fixing it.

While Republicans are pleased at the victory and feel their strategy of hammering Obamacare’s effect on voters has been vindicated, the Democrats are encouraged the vote was as close as it was.  Both sides spent lots of money ($4.9 million for Jolly vs. $3.7 million for Sink according to The Hill).  Jolly was considered as a “flawed” candidate by some because he had been a lobbyist and an underdog because he was less well known than Sink, considered by the Democrats as a strong candidate.

One of Jolly’s ads hammered Obamacare, characterized by “Canceled health plans, higher premiums, Medicare cuts, people losing their doctors, a disaster for families and seniors.”

While Republicans will be encouraged by the upset victory after polling had indicated Sink would win, it was a special election.

“The thing about special elections is, sometimes they are bellwethers and sometimes they’re not,” Aubrey Jewett said.  Jewett is a political science professor at nearby University of Central Florida (“Republican David Jolly Wins Florida Congressional Race,” Wall Street Journal, 03/11/14).

Published in: on March 11, 2014 at 10:51 pm  Comments (2)  

EPA Finally Bows (Slightly) to Reality on Ethanol

EPA finally did what had been rumored it would do —  lowered the mandate for renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline in 2014.

On Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, EPA proposed a mandate level 16 percent less than that specified in the 2007 law.  The proposal would require between 12.7 and 13.2 billion gallons of corn ethanol in 2014, a level not only lower than originally required for 2014 but lower than the mandate level for the last two years (“EPA Shrinks Ethanol Mandate for First Time,” Wall Street Journal, 11/15/13).

Of course, this is not because EPA is recognizing the misguided policy aims of the Renewable Fuel Standards or the probable net loss in energy efficiency from producing fuel from corn.  Nor was it a given, since reality didn’t keep the EPA from fining refiners millions of dollars a year for not using cellulosic fuel that wasn’t being produced and couldn’t be blended.  Cold, hard facts do not necessarily faze bureaucrats at the EPA.

But the EPA was finally made to understand that blenders can’t blend ethanol into fuel that is not being produced and sold.  The continuing lousy economy under this administration and Congress, improving fuel economy on cars and trucks and the increased domestic production of oil despite the administration’s efforts to quell it have reduced the demand for gas and diesel.  Meaning there was not enough fuel needed and sold to achieve the mandates on renewable fuels the law had suggested and EPA had demanded.

Interestingly enough for animal agriculture, the news story in the Washington Post quoted Renewable Fuels Assn. President Bob Dineen near the beginning of their story, since it supported the manmade global warming doctrine.

“They’re capitulating to the oil companies,” Dineen said.  “The RFS was about forcing the marketplace change and EPA is giving the oil companies a get out of jail free card (“EPA Proposes Smaller Requirements For Biofuel Use,” 11/15/13).”

Perish the thought that we would allow free markets to govern what is bought and sold.  After all, those “markets” that the liberals regard as so wanton and evil, are really summaries of citizens voting with their dollars for products.  We can’t have that.

But it was 14 paragraphs into an 18-paragraph story that animal agriculture was even heard from, and even then the Post tarred the comments from livestock and poultry producers by noting they were heard on a conference call hosted by the American Petroleum Institute, that advocate of those nasty carbon products like oil and gasoline.  And the story didn’t note that livestock producers were happy to see some relief from artificially high corn prices forced by the ethanol mandate.  Nor did it mention the hundreds of millions of dollars those artificial corn prices — as opposed to just higher market-determined corn prices that animal agriculture knows corn farmers needed — cost livestock producers and feeders over the last five years.

But it the Post did allow in a good point and a good line, saying livestock and poultry producers didn’t see “any more need to set ethanol volume requirements than there was for setting requirements for turkey output.”  Surprising they let a shaft of free market light into the discussion in a news story.  Especially while the UN climate change bunch is meeting in Poland whipping up hysteria over impending doom.

World War II Veterans Defy Administration’s Vindictiveness

If you want evidence of how the administration is going to back up that cold look and “I will not negotiate” stance from President Obama, we now have an example.

If you have ever been to the World War II Memorial in Washington, it is an open, outdoor theater-type design.  There is no indoor museum, no museum building, no walled off area.  Rather it is an arrangement of stone pillars around a reflecting pool.
World War II Memorial from the east.

World War II Memorial from the east.

There is also an organization that has been working hard to see that WWII veterans get a chance to see the memorial to their efforts before they pass from this earth.  The group arranges “Honor Flights” for veterans to be flown to Washington at no expense to them, takes them to visit the memorial and other historic sites in Washington and flies them home the same day.  These are men — some of them on walkers, canes and in wheelchairs  —  who saved the free world over 70 years ago.

Looking down to the WWII Memorial from the Washington Memorial.  No fences when we were there.

Looking down to the WWII Memorial from the Washington Memorial. No fences when we were there.

So how does this administration honor these veterans?

Since there is no closed off area, there is no way to “close” the memorial.  So they went out and got some steel panels, like those cattlemen would use to hold cattle in the middle of a parking lot with no fencing, and barricaded the area of the national mall where the memorial is located.  In other words, they went way out of their way to fence off an open area of the mall.
So when a group of Honor Flight veterans arrived from Mississippi, having traveled with all the difficulties of war veterans traveling in their 70s, 80s and 90s specifically to see the Memorial, they found it fenced off so they couldn’t get close enough to see the plaques and stones honoring their achievements.
The Memorial several years ago.

The Memorial several years ago.

We guess it would be predictable from this administration that vindictively shut down White House tours, the Thunderbirds, the Blue Angels and found dozens of way to punish the American people.  That they would go far out of their way to install steel panels to block off access to a memorial honoring the world’s most heroic efforts to preserve the free world is sad.  This president has made it clear from ocean to ocean that he is ashamed of America and what she stands for.  Such action is, therefore, no surprise.

It also is no surprise how these veterans reacted.  The reports vary as to whether they simply moved the barricades aside and went in anyway or whether the panels were moved aside for the veterans.  But they were not leaving until they got in and saw what they came to see.  Kind of like what they did in Europe and in the Pacific.
We assume this is just a taste of the style of heavy-handed government authority-wielding we can expect to see.  After all, there was plenty of practice in implementing the sequester as brutally as possible upon the taxpaying citizens.  Brace yourself.
Published in: on October 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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