Obama Proclaims Republicans Extortionists.

How much more poisonous can the political climate in Washington get?

Opposing this administration’s policies has long been termed “racist” by the liberal left and the general media, regardless of whether the issue had anything to do with race, i.e. immigration, economic policy or any fundamental “reform” the president has embarked upon.  He’s also termed them extremists.  Apparently, that’s not producing satisfactory enough results in winning public and political opinion.

Wednesday, the president stepped up the rhetoric, calling Congressional Republicans extortionists for daring to oppose him in rubber stamping an increase in the debt ceiling.  What’s next in this war on those daring to oppose this administration?  The British term the party out of power the Loyal Opposition.  Churchill was the acknowledged master of wielding the (verbal) cudgel of Loyal Opposition.  Obama terms them  —  in his case — extortionists.  What’s next?  Calling them Terrorists?  Traitors?  This from the candidate who was going to be the Great Healer, as well as… well, you remember all the claims and predictions, including that shtick about the waves.  In fact, the manmade global warming boosters are heaping more scorn on “climate skeptics” now because a new report is due soon terming the manmade component mere background noise to global geology.  But we digress.

Just what did President Obama say to the Business Roundtable?

“You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt ceiling being used to extort a president or a governing party and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and had nothing to do with debt,” Obama said.

We’re not sure how the president can regard perhaps the largest spending project in our nation’s history irrelevant to budget and debt matters but economics and numbers were never his game.  To him, it just boils down to an attitude of this is what he wants.  Shut up and do what he wants.

What about Obama’s claim that never in history has anyone used the debt ceiling as leverage to get tit for tat?  Of course, historical accuracy is not the president’s game either.  Chris Stirewalt noted that Obama should know better on this one.  He and the Democrats used the debt ceiling debate to harass President George Bush over the Iraq war.  As for how we got into this mess, Stirewalt pointed out the United States has not had a budget since 2007.  We’ve been stumbling along with stopgap continuing resolutions ever since (Fox News, 09/18/13), including the years when the White House, the Senate and the House were Democrat-led.

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck went further regarding “never in history:” “Every major deficit deal in the last 30 years has been tied to a debt-limit increase, and this time should be no different.”  He reiterated that Republicans do not want the U.S. to default on its debts.  The key words Buck uttered were “major deficit deal.”  Obama does not want his purse pinched.

Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner announced that there will be a vote in the House on a budget bill that would fund the government but defund Obamacare.  If the House should pass such a bill, it would put pressure on the Senate to do something to fund the government.  As Karl Rove pointed out on Fox News Wednesday, when the government shutdown occurred in 1995, it wasn’t really a full shut-down.  Seven of the 13 appropriations bills had already been passed then.

This time it’s different.  Congress has passed no appropriations bills.  Some departments are on short strings already because of sequestration (an idea the president fathered but refuses to acknowledge).  So a shut-down could really shut down everything not essential if that’s what the Republicans were really trying to do.  But while that’s what the left has claimed, the Republican leadership has never said they wanted to shut down the whole government, just defund Obamacare, using what few weapons they have at hand.

The Washington Post analyzed the budget situation in terms policy non-wonks could understand.  Why are the real cast iron conservatives so adamant on pushing this budget deal to the edge over Obamacare?  For one, they view this as the last chance to stop or delay Obamacare, with implementation just weeks away.  For another, they are concerned about primary challenges and the “ire of conservative groups” who want to “shred Obamacare at all costs.  A “we-tried-once-so-now-let’s-back-away” posture won’t ease any of their political pressures, the Post story said, (Boehner Agonistes (again),” 09/18/13).

We agree that those pressures are part of the equation.  But further, the left views opposition to Obamacare as misguided and really dismisses the notion that there are very many voters out there so unenlightened as to not want it.  And Congressmen who pay attention to what their voters want anyway, are just short-sighted politicians trying to get reelected.  Because the left are really the political animals, they can’t understand the conservative right as being rooted in principle and behaving like that regardless of consequences.  That is why they view a person like Ted Cruz or Mike Lee  — willing to buck both their own and the opposition party’s leadership — as extremists people should be frightened of.

The Post story said something else interesting about the budget standoff.

“What’s more, in order for a budget strategy to really be tested, it must be drawn out to the last moment.  These negotiations have increasingly become blinking contests, and Defund Obamacare advocates aren’t going to be happy until Senate Democrats are faced with a choice between a government shutdown and defunding Obamacare.  Anything else will be seen as a token effort.”

In other words, it isn’t High Noon until it’s noon and the street is cleared except for the two gunfighters.  All the rest is nerve-wracking prologue only the rest of us notice.

But at least some folks have the guts to step into the street.  Unfortunately, too many of our Washington politicians are law-trained negotiators, only interested in brokering a deal, not defending bedrock principles and values important to our country and its citizens.

And while this drama is crucial to all of us, it means all the rest of the stuff important to specific sectors of the economy, like agriculture or trade or immigration, just doesn’t merit much attention.

By the way, other news today also smacked of extortion and blackmail but it wasn’t the Loyal Opposition that was responsible.  USA Today and Fox News reported that the IRS had flagged groups for “anti-Obama rhetoric” and emotional statements, searching press releases, articles, commentary and research reports.  What is extortion if it isn’t withholding tax exemption unless you keep your mouth shut about certain things?  Is this more Chicago-style coercion seeping into our government?

K.T. McFarland only this morning wondered if our intelligence community was gathering such a massive volume of information that it couldn’t find even the obvious things when it needed to.  Like whether a guy arrested on weapons charges, harassing neighbors and hearing voices coming out of the ceilings and walls  — they didn’t say how cheap a motel he’d been staying in, so we assume they’d clarified that the voices were directed at him and that what they were telling him to do bad things  —  is the kind of guy who should have a security clearance and the okay to buy weapons.  If Obama’s people are having to sort through all the “anti-Obama” rhetoric, it would seem they have set themselves a gargantuan task, even though the left-leaning general media scoff that any such discontent exists, except for a handful of “extremists.”

As Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice noted  — his group has represented conservative and Tea Party groups harassed by the IRS in the process of seeking a nonprofit status —  setting the government to combing through the media for anti-government statements is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned in the U.S. Constitution.  There is this little item in there about free speech.  King George III did not like being spoken ill of.  But he was a king.  We’re supposed to have a president and a government by and for the People.

Meanwhile, we have an active, pushy, bossy, overbearing bureaucracy.  We don’t have much legislative governing going on.  However, non-government by paralysis could be preferable to really bad government.

Published in: on September 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm  Comments (1)  

D.C. District Court Denies Preliminary Injunction on mCOOL

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has denied a request for a preliminary injunction to block implementation of the new mCOOL regulations made final last spring.  AMI, NCBA, North American Meat Association, Canadian Cattlemen’s Assn., Canadian and American pork councils, Mexican cattlemen, American Association of Meat Processors and Southwest Meat Association had filed the suit.

AMI’s President J. Patrick Boyle has indicated an appeal will be made.  The complaint had pressed the case that the requirements of the augmented new regulations exceeds the authority granted in the statute.

Opponents of the new regulations have argued that the excessive costs and disruption of trade far exceeds the minimal informational benefits to consumers.  Research has shown very few consumers consider origin in making meat purchases, while quality, taste, safety and cost are the main drivers.  Origin does not affect safety, as health and safety standards have been in place for decades.  But full implementation of these regulations would both drive costs up and likely destroy much of the meat trade between North American nations.

U.S. packers already running well under capacity because of low cattle numbers, would further see operating margins deteriorate, with some border region packers possibly forced out of business by a critical shortage of cattle from both sides of the border.  The extensive segregation, tracking and recordkeeping requirements and the elimination of the commingling provision would likely mean the major packers would stop buying any but U.S. livestock.  Of course, that is the real reason some radical livestock and farm groups favor a strict mCOOL law.  They oppose trade with other nations in meat or livestock.

Published in: on September 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Colorado Voters Rise Up Over Gun Laws

Voters in Colorado learned something Tuesday.  So did a couple state senators, including the president of the senate.

The voters learned that they can buck 137 years of statehood history and recall legislators who ignored their wishes, especially when visceral issues like gun control is involved.  Two senators learned that if they try to ram things down voters’ throats, voters might rise up and smite them.

State Senate President John Morse (D-El Paso) and Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) both lost recall elections Tuesday in Colorado, the first such recalls in Colorado history.

Despite being turned out of office, neither senator indicated acceptance of voter’s wishes.

“We as the Democratic party will continue to fight,” Morse said in conceding the election.

“We will win in the end because we are on the right side,” Giron said (“Colorado State Sen. Angela Giron Becomes 2nd Lawmaker to Lose Recall Over Gun Laws Support,” Washington Post, 9/10/13).

Having won commanding majorities in both houses of the legislature and holding the governor’s office, the Democrats under Morse in the Senate and House Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D-Arapahoe), the state’s first gay speaker, evinced a charging style that struck legislative opponents as a forceful, quick-strike offense.  Several of the gun control laws passed that made Colorado citizens the subject of much stricter gun control laws were pushed through relatively quickly.

Besides the restrictive gun laws passed over the objections of not only rural citizens, hunters, gun owners and the organized and vocal opposition of dozens of sheriffs, many rural and suburban citizens don’t even know another serious blow was landed on their household budgets.  With little hearing time and study, the legislature quickly and quietly passed legislation to force billions of dollars in expensive alternative energy costs on the rural electric industry serving Colorado and surrounding states.

The new law requires rural electric coops to source 20 percent of all their power from alternative sources like wind turbines and solar panels within a very short time period.  Hydroelectric power, already a long-time contributor to electric grids cannot be counted.  Rate payers will not only have to pay for billions in wind and solar farms but also the generating plants to back up the erratic sources of electricity and the transmission lines to carry power from remote areas to the grid.

With solar and wind power costing several times the cost of conventional coal and gas power, suburban and rural customers will see significant increases in rates.  One farmer estimated thousands of dollars per day in increased costs during irrigation season.  A large percentage of households not living in actual downtown areas of towns like Colorado Springs, for instance, depend on rural electric coops for power and will see rates go up.  In fact, since wording in the statute forbids the generating coops to raise rates anywhere near enough to recoup costs, it’s not clear how the generating coops will recover capital investment costs and survive.

We’re not sure what it is about plumbers and gumption  —  remember Joe the Plumber posing a key question to candidate Obama? —  but it was a Pueblo area plumber, Timothy Knight, who initiated the recall campaign.  Recall campaign volunteers gathered thousands of voter petition signatures to force the recall election.  Political observers believe Knight’s group might be the first to turn in petitions with a 95 percent validity score.  They used a handheld computer to check voter registration databases in real-time as petitioners stood by.  It is possible this recall will change the methodology used for voter petition efforts in the future.

In addition to local money and volunteer work, hundreds of thousands of dollars was pumped into the fight by the National Rifle Association and, further enraging state gun owners, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to support the gun control senators.  Interestingly enough, despite Morse’s position as Senate president and bigger city media exposure, the voter turnout was twice as big in Pueblo, 30 percent (32,000) vs. 15 percent (17,000) in Colorado Springs.  The night’s returns showed the recall posted 51 percent against Morse and 56 percent against Giron, meaning in Morse’s case a few hundred votes was the difference.

Some dedicated Colorado citizens proved they can make a difference if they take the time and trouble to use the political tools at hand and harness today’s technology.

Published in: on September 11, 2013 at 12:35 am  Leave a Comment  

Kelly and Malkin Rake EPA Over Coals

“A New Eruption in Culture of Corruption”

Megyn Kelly and Michelle Malkin highlighted the problems farmers, feeders and ranchers have been having with the EPA on Fox News’ “America Live” on Monday, June 10, 2013.

We first alerted our readers to EPA’s misconduct in April in the AFF Sentinel newsletter, (“EPA Nominee No Stranger to Bad News for Agriculture-Part II,” 3/13/13, V10#09) detailing the agency’s supposedly mistaken release of detailed business and personal information on livestock feeding operations nationwide.

Later, more trickled out about EPA’s behavior  — which screams ideology-driven intent — that not only did the agency release the info but continued to repeat some of the information a second time when it apologized for the first breach.  Then it developed EPA had been granting fee waivers to 92 percent of favored enviro-zealot groups and denying fee waivers to conservative or free market groups anywhere from 50 percent to 92 percent to 100 percent of the time.  These fees were charged for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests (“Arrogance,” AFF Sentinel, 05/19/13, Vol. 10#26).

We’ve since learned these fees can run as much as a million dollars, so the fee waiver is no small consideration.

But it was terrific to see Kelly and Malkin rake EPA over the coals, especially in light of the changed attitude in America, given the scandals erupting since EPA’s breaches over the IRS targeting, NSA information gathering on citizens and DOJ surveilling reporters without the knowledge of the news organization involved.

The news peg that prompted this discussion on Fox News was a letter from 24 senators to EPA, demanding an explanation.  Rightly so, Kelly and Malkin not only focused on the unauthorized release of information but on the biosecurity hazards posed by releasing this information to these groups.  Malkin noted it’s not just farmers and ranchers noting this risk, but the Department of Homeland Security.

We would add that not only do feeders bear a risk from the activities of some of these groups themselves  —  judging by their past actions —  but having that information out in more hands just adds to the risk that out-and-out terrorists could get their hands on target information.  Witness the fire bombing attack at Harris Ranch just last year, claimed by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).  Harris can’t hide because of its large profile but spreading information on every animal feeding operation around the country certainly exposes many more operations to risk from terrorists we know are among us.

“Every day a new eruption in the culture of corruption,” Malkin termed these revelations.  Not coincidentally, Malkin penned a book named “Culture of Corruption,” in 2010.  Since Malkin is a bold, outspoken commentator, her book title seemed cutting edge then.  Now, it seems downright prescient, given the revelations since the beginning of the scandal eruptions beginning with Benghazi.

Published in: on June 10, 2013 at 2:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Senate Gun Control Bill Fails to Get 60 Votes

Multiple Washington sources are reporting that the Senate version of a gun control bill that would have expanded federal background checks to gun show and internet sales has failed in the Senate, 54-46.

The Manchin-Toomey version of the bill would have exempted private sales between friends and acquaintances.  Only four Republicans voted for the bill and five Democrats voted against it.  Sen. Harry Reid voted against it but that means he can resurrect it, which would require many changes to the broader underlying bill that had garnered even less support.

This means that none of the left’s three-pronged efforts on gun control — background checks, high-capacity clips and cosmetically enhanced semiautomatic weapons — have enough votes in Washington, despite emotional appeals marshalled by the adminstration.

Perhaps the unassailable logic hammered over and over that these legislative maneuvers would have no impact on the tragedies like those in Connecticut and Colorado have had an impact.  So also, under increasingly obvious examples of federal government overreach by this administration, the specter of a federal universal background check requirement in place, requiring only one more “loophole” closing by Congress to get to federal gun ownership registration, has gotten more citizen attention.

New legislation in New York state requiring owners of dozens of weapons the state has re-classified as “assault weapons” to register them went into effect April 15.  Gun owners have one year to register their ownership of these weapons.

Published in: on April 17, 2013 at 3:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

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  

U.S. Government Continues Its War on Beef Industry Trade

Like a bunch of lawyers rejiggering rules for Monopoly with total disregard for real world impacts on real businesses, at first glance it looks like the U.S. government’s response to the WTO ruling on mCOOL is just a costly farce.  Rather than fix or remove the legislation that was declared illegal under the WTO rules and which we warned was expensive, onerous, unnecessary, little wanted by consumers and truly a trade barrier damaging to American consumers, the government is playing with the rules on our side of the border.  The proposed rules would ram more segregation, more labeling, more expense and more confusion on American meat producers and consumers.

More details later but it appears at first glance like the government has taken a bad situation and figured out how to make it worse.

Published in: on March 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

This Week’s Sign of the Apocalypse: Gun Hysteria Gone Mad

With all the important stuff that has piled up from beef industry meetings and events through January and February on top of Washington’s stampede to mostly nowhere, we guess it takes absolute idiocy to break through the logjam.  We’ll deal with mCOOL and Endangered Species later today but first, the real news of the weekend.

Fans of Sports Illustrated are familiar with a feature they’ve run for years called “This Week’s Sign of the Apocalypse,” featuring some really outlandish statement by an athlete or some stupid administrative move by a team or the NCAA.  Well, this week’s sign for society in general shows how hysterical non-gun owners — our school system in particular — have gotten.  This is why we have warned our readers, despite assurances from some in Congress that major gun control legislation will go nowhere, that this is an issue more about emotional instability than facts.  Here in Colorado, we are being stampeded by bill after bill of gun legislation, including things impossible to enforce, like background checks on private gun sales.

We must warn you before you read this.  This is not a joke.  Legislation has already been introduced to prevent a reocurrence in the Maryland legislature.

In a Maryland school, a second grader has been suspended for two days for possession of a firearm in class  —  a handgun nibbled out of the Pop Tart in his lunch!  It seems the kid had been trying to nibble it into the shape of a mountain but that wasn’t working, according to the Daily Caller.  When he realized it was looking a bit like a handgun, his father said he held it up and said, “Bang, bang,” (The Blaze, 03/10/13).

The whole incident was so horrific, other kids in the class have been offered trauma counseling.

Personally, it would appear some teachers and administrators need counseling or less traumatic jobs than teaching simple reality to second graders.  George Will brought up Michelle Obama and Michael Bloomberg in his discussion of this ridiculous incident.  We suppose we can expect moves from both to ban Pop Tarts on public school premises on Double Whammy grounds: nutrition they don’t like and dangerous weapons possession.  Will noted that a pastor in St. Louis is working on a program to buy back toy guns and swords from children there.  Mark Steyn, in for Rush on Monday, reported another kid’s cupcakes were sent home from school because they had little plastic soldiers on top of them.

Somehow, a society and government that sees no danger in declared debt and off-budget debt that threatens to drown the entire planet, has a tidal wave of people literally scared witless at the sight of a gun or gun-like object, even when it’s not pointing at anything.  Personally, we’ve no wish to be looking down the barrel of a real 12-gauge pointed at us.  But there is a lot of security and safety-like feelings associated with having firearms to prevent something like that happening…like having my own 12-gauge or 30-30 or other means of dissuasion or defense.

We cannot explain why some people get full out, eyeball-rolling hysterical at the mere shape of a gun.  But even if that emotional irrationality is the basis for trying to make sure only criminals have guns and the rest of us get killed, maimed, violated or merely robbed before law enforcement can arrive, rational segments of society have to fend off this wave of hysteria.  If what these unstable creatures want comes to pass, law enforcement will have to save money by cutting back on too-late patrols so they can beef up their after-the-fact homicide investigation divisions and hire lots more coroners.

Today’s modern American citizens have never had to live anywhere in a society where citizens don’t have guns but only criminals do.  They do not really understand the safety inherent through the deterrent effects of gun possession by citizens.  It’s just always been there and they don’t realize the calamity that would occur in society if it were removed.  But they are hell bent on us finding out.

Five thousand years of supposedly civilizing trends in society, some education and deductive reasoning skills — and we are reduced to hysteria over Pop Tarts.  A sign of the apocalypse?

Published in: on March 11, 2013 at 11:50 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)  

Thousands Attend Romney Rally in Colorado Springs

We estimate a least 5,000 people crammed into a hangar in Colorado Springs, with another thousand or two overflowing the building at both ends this past weekend.  Enthusiasm was high, the crowd a mixed bag and optimism rampant that those present were witnessing history in the making.  Little kids perched on dad’s shoulders, waving signs and flags were all over.  For those of you too far out in the boonies to be on the presidential campaign trail, here’s a few photos for atmosphere.

A portion of the crowd awaiting the Romneys in the hangar at Colorado Springs.

Shake hands and then off to Denver.

Published in: on November 5, 2012 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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