Putting out the welcome mat for terrorists

Who do they think they are kidding?

Obama unilaterally ordered immigration to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into this country this year.

Then White House spokesman Josh Earnest had the audcatity to claim:

“Refugees go through the most robust security process of anybody who’s contemplating travel to the United States. Refugees have to be screened by the National Counter Terrorism Center, by the F.B.I. Terrorist Screening Center. They go through databases that are maintained by D.H.S., the Department of Defense and the intelligence community. There is biographical and biometric information that is collected about these individuals.”

These are refugess. They are not carrying passports or visas or birth certificates or driver’s licenses.

They are from war-torn countries where records of criminal convictions or terrorist affiliations are nonexistent.

Federal agencies have admitted there is no way to vet such refugees.

“We don’t have it under control,” Michael Steinback, assistant director for the FBI told a congressional committee. “Absolutely, we’re doing the best we can. If I were to say that we had it under control, then I would say I know of every single individual traveling. I don’t. And I don’t know every person there and I don’t know everyone coming back. So it’s not even close to being under control.”

These are the same people who want to conduct background checks before any citizen may buy a gun for protection but will allow any mope who claims to be a refugee to come on over and start getting free stuff paid for by taxpayers, even if their intent is to kill those same taxpayers in repayment.

What a country! What a political party!

Refugees in Hungary. (NY Times photo)

Obama’s sequestration idea is coming back to bite him … but Republicans will get the blame

Obama is threatening to shut down unessential government functions, such as national parks, if Congress doesn’t agree to raise taxes a lot. Of course, Republicans will get the blame.

For months Democrats, led by Harry Reid, have been clamoring to end the so-called sequestration caps on spending. In 2013 on the day of the shutdown, Obama accused Republicans for holding “the entire economy hostage over ideological demands.”

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Reid has vowed to filibuster every spending bill until the Democrats get their tax hike — “a gridlock scenario that could lead to another autumn government shutdown. President Obama has backed up the Nevadan, threatening to veto pretty much any spending bill that hits his desk.”

The amusing thing is that the whole idea of sequestration came from the White House. According to Bob Woodward’s book, “The Price of Politics,” the White House pushed sequestration as a way to force Republicans to increase taxes, thinking they’d not go along with defense cuts. It failed to work.

Here is a recent White House briefing exchange that makes the silly gamesmanship very clear:

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: Let me ask that question about the budget differently. Is the president willing to shut the government down if Congress doesn’t agree to limit the sequester spending levels?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Jon, the president feels very strongly that Congress needs to both pass a budget on time, but also make sure that our economy and our national security priorities don’t have to suffer from the mindless austerity that was brought about in the sequester. So, the president has made clear that he will not support legislation that locks in those sequester caps that neglect our economic and national security priorities. The good news —

KARL: So he would veto a spending bill that didn’t raise the spending levels? He would be willing to shut the government down unless the Congress agrees to lift those spending levels?

EARNEST: Well, let me say a couple things about that. The first is that it’s not at all clear to me that there is bipartisan support. Let me say it this way — it’s not at all clear to me that there is enough support in the United States Congress to pass a budget that would walk-in sequester spending…

The president’s position on this has been very clear that he will not sign into law a budget bill that would lock in sequester levels of spending.

It is a game of chicken and Obama is fighting against the very idea he came up with.

2013 government shutdown (AFP/Getty via WSJ)

Let this tax credit blow away

The quibbling over what tax breaks, credits and deductions will get extended in this lame-duck Congress is in full blown quibble status.

Sens. Harry Reid and Dave Camp, Michigan Republican, came up with a compromise that included income tax deductions for state sales and a number business tax breaks, as well as the production tax credit (PTC) for wind turbines. But Obama has threatened to veto the deal because it did not extend such redistributive schemes as the Earned Income Tax Credit that gives money to people who don’t earn enough from their employers. Sound like a business subsidy?

Spring Valley wind farm

But a number of people would just as soon the wind credit get blown away because it costs both taxpayers and rate payers.

Nevada electric bills already have a charge for renewable energy and efficiency programs over and above the cost of wind power — for which the utility usually pays about 12 cents a kWh though it charges residential customers 11.55 cents a kWh. See any price pressure there?

Tom Phillips writes in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal (behind a pay wall) under the headline “Wind Power Is Intermittent, But Subsidies Are Eternal“:

Thirty years and billions of dollars later, the wind industry is still saying it needs taxpayer support. Congress is currently hearing this argument as it debates whether to extend the 22-year-old “production tax credit” in the lame-duck session. The PTC, which gives wind producers a 2.3-cent tax credit for each kilowatt-hour of electricity produced over 10 years, expired at the end of 2013. Now wind-industry lobbyists are roaming the halls of Congress, asking legislators to renew it as part of a tax-extenders package before adjourning on Dec. 15.

The industry’s arguments are bluster. Wind-power capacity has increased by nearly 5,000% since the PTC was created and the industry now makes billions of dollars in annual revenue. Meanwhile, the credit has devolved into another example of corporate welfare.

Closer to home, opponents of the PTC in general and more specifically the wind turbine project proposed in Searchlight have started a petition campaign.

The petition reads in part:

Citizens’ Plea Do NOT REINSTATE the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC)

Dear Representatives (insert name of Senator or Representative)

We, the undersigned, join thousands of U.S. taxpayers and ratepayers nationwide in urging you and your colleagues to eliminate the (PTC ). The industry has been on notice for years that the 22-year old PTC would expire and it has. We flatly reject policy actions by Congress, especially during this lame duck session, to reinstate and extend the credit.

You should know by now that development of wind power in the United States does not reduce our need to maintain and build reliable generation, nor does it add materially to employment in our country. The small amount of energy it generates is intermittent, and hugely landscape-intensive. And, of course, this degree of landscape disruption is highly destructive to wildlife, including federally protected species such as eagles.

Renewable energy tax policy also has fostered a generation of developers who are rewarded for siting turbines on every free acre that has transmission access, no matter who is in the way. The negative effects of erecting turbines too close to where people live are real. Unsurprisingly, more than twelve active lawsuits are pending against wind projects in as many states. More are sure to follow.

The issues surrounding wind power expansion also impact energy prices and disrupt otherwise functional markets. The PTC provides project owners with a significant out-of-market revenue source, which invokes predatory pricing practices that unfairly harm the economics of reliable generators. There is no justification for a government program that manipulates otherwise healthy, competitive businesses.

After 22-years of tax credits, the business of big wind is not about energy production. It’s about tax avoidance. Indeed, an entire financial-market “ecosystem” has evolved around these subsidies. Warren Buffet recently reminded us that wind investment makes no sense without handouts from taxpayers. Wind energy will never be competitive with the price of the fuel it saves and would not sell but for the PTC.

This is why we respectfully request that Congress resist any temptation to reinstate the expired PTC or associated investment tax credit (ITC).


White House picks nits with pool reporters’ dispatches

Everybody’s an editor.

Even the White House, as a Washington Post story buried in the Style section recounts.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest speaks to the media during his daily briefing. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

When the president travels, but not while golfing, a small pool of reporters are allowed to tag along so long as they agree to share their reports with all the other media. The system has evolved to the point where the White House has created a database of media and does the distributing.

That’s where the editing comes in. WaPo says the White House has demanded deletions or alternations in pool reporting as a condition of distribution.

On one trip, then-deputy press secretary Josh Earnest (Is that name an oxymoron?) demanded that a Post reporter change his story, which “contained a comment juxtaposing a speech Obama had given two days earlier lauding freedom of the press with the administration’s decision to limit access to presidential photo ops on the trip.”

The reporter argued but agreed.

Free press? Owned press? Are we getting news accounts or press releases?

Here is another example:

As the pool reporter on a presidential trip to California in mid-2012, Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News included a colorful scene in his pool file: Obama walking back to the press section of Air Force One bearing a dessert with a lighted candle to honor a veteran reporter who was making her final presidential trip. Gillman added the seemingly innocuous detail that Obama asked the honoree to blow out the candle and make a wish, “preferably one that had something to do with the number 270,” the minimum number of electoral college votes the president needed to win reelection.

The White House refused to dispatch the report. Only after the reporter appealed the decision to the press secretary was it sent, a day later. Old news is no news.

The White House Correspondents Association is considering finding another to send out pool reports that skirt the White House system.

William Allen White, the Kansas newspaper editor in the early 20th century, once said, “There are three things that no one can do to the entire satisfaction of anyone else: make love, poke the fire, and run a newspaper.”