On Tuesday, Trump is signing what could be one of the most important executive orders in his presidency. This order will do away with climate change rules – and subsequent loss of jobs and money – President Obama signed into effect during his second term. The order is being referred to as the “energy independence” executive order, and will work to bring jobs to the energy industry.
Per Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, President Trump is issuing the order to make “sure that we have a pro-growth and pro-environment approach to how we do regulation in this country.”
The order also seeks to lift the ban on federal coal leasing instituted by Obama, which has had a very negative effect on states who depend on coal mining.
“Coal production fell in 2016,” says Robert Godby, director of the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy at the University of Wyoming.
In fact, it’s fallen for several years as utilities have switched to cheaper natural gas. That means existing coal reserves have grown bigger.
“The coal market is so weak,” Godby says, “and some companies are coming out of bankruptcy.” He says they simply don’t have the cash to make the enormous investment required to lease federal land for future coal production. Godby says the decline in coal leasing — and the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars a year in royalties — has been painful for Wyoming. The state had been using the money to build new schools, but is now facing a large budget deficit. By making it easier for companies to mine coal, the administration is working to help states like Wyoming get back on their feet.
“This policy is in keeping with President Trump’s desire to make the United States energy independent,” said a senior administration official. “When it comes to climate change, we want to take our course and do it in our own form and fashion.”
The order also comes after several moves by Trump to roll back Obama-era restrictions on mining, drilling and coal and gas-burning operations. In his first two months as president, Trump has voided a regulation that placed strict rules on surface-mining companies. He also set aside a new accounting system that would have compelled coal companies and other energy firms to pay more in federal royalties.
The point of the order is to bring jobs back into the United States in the coal industry. By cutting costs for companies, the Trump administration is making it much easier for executives to hire more labor and generate more revenue.
Previously, Trump also revamped two oil pipeline projects – Dakota Access and Keystone XL – that Obama halted during the last few days of his presidency. The pipelines, which were already 90 percent completed, would have resulted in a huge loss of jobs if Trump had not intervened and reinstated the projects.
“He’s made a pledge to the coal industry and he’s going to do whatever he can to help those workers,” the senior administration official went on to say. U.S. coal jobs, which number about 75,000, have been declining for decades. The administration has not yet given an expected amount of job growth for the industry, as it is still considering more options to increase job availability. This new order is just the beginning.
President Trump is also proposing budget cuts to the EPA, which have many liberals protesting – most likely with signs made from paper that become litter once they’re done with them because liberals and hypocrisy go hand-in-hand. Point: they don’t truly care about the environment until someone starts making changes they don’t understand or refuse to become knowledgeable about.
Trump’s proposal is aimed at eliminating funds for the Clean Power Plan and “reorienting” the EPA on air pollution. It also calls for a 31 percent spending reduction for EPA, slashing the budget by $2.6 billion.
Many are fearful that Trump is simply foregoing climate change rules to help make more money for his closest business allies, but that narrative could not be further from the truth. Nevertheless, the left is relentless.
“In taking a sledgehammer to U.S. climate action, the administration will push the country backward, making it harder and more expensive to reduce emissions,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute, in a statement. “Climate science is clear and unwavering: mounting greenhouse gas emissions are warming our planet, putting people and business in harm’s way.”
Meanwhile, the administration is getting a large amount of support from energy companies who are looking forward to the job and revenue increases.
In a written statement, American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard said, “We look forward to working with the Trump administration and Congress on forward-looking energy policies that will help ensure the United States continues leading the world in the production and refining of oil and natural gas, and in the reduction of carbon emissions.”
While Trump’s executive orders kick off a rule-making process with the goal of ending the Clean Power Plan, they won’t end the policy outright. Any effort to repeal the rule could prove lengthy, difficult and fraught with litigation.
“Once you have something like the Clean Power Plan — a final rule-making — then that can’t be withdrawn using any process other than the one that was used to create it,” says Nathan Richardson, an executive at Resources for the Future. That means the entire process to undo the plan could take years.
The Trump administration has time, though. The Clean Power Plan is currently held up in federal court after lawsuits from industry groups and states challenged its legality. A ruling could be months away and any decision — for or against the plan — will likely be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Congress could also step in and amend the Clean Air Act to say the EPA shouldn’t regulate greenhouse gases, nullifying the Clean Power Plan, but that could prove politically challenging.
Either way, Trump’s newest executive order is a step in the right direction for his ongoing agenda to ‘Make America Great Again.’
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has announced that he has no plans to step down from his position. This comes during the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in last year’s U.S. presidential election.
His announcement comes in response to Democrats calling for him to recuse himself from the investigation. They claim that Nunes secretly visited the White House before revealing incidental surveillance of Trump’s transition team. He was also said to have briefed President Trump on details pertaining to the investigation before consulting or informing Democrats on the committee.
During an interview on Monday evening, Nunes said he was on White House grounds in order to view classified intelligence materials. They had nothing to do with Russia or the House Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russia’s interference in the election. He went on to say that he could not view the materials in the Capitol complex because the sources could not take the documents there.
“Congress has not been given this information, that’s the problem,” he said. He did note that, “at least once a week if not more than that, [the committee has] to go to the executive branch to read classified intelligence.”
“I’m quite sure people at West Wing had no idea I was there,” Nunes said during the interview on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”
“I wasn’t trying to hide. If I wanted to, I could have snuck onto the White House grounds at night when nobody would have seen me,” he said, disputing reports that he made the trip at night.
Nunes would not name the source of the information, nor would he disclose who invited him on the White House grounds for the meeting. However, he did describe the source as an intelligence official, not a White House official.
During the interview, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) publicly called on his Republican counterpart via Twitter, urging Nunes to recuse himself from the investigation.
“This is not a recommendation I make lightly, as the Chairman and I have worked together for several years,” Rep. Adam Schiff wrote in a statement. “But in much the same way the Attorney General was forced to recuse himself from the Russian investigation after failing to inform the Senate of his meetings with Russian officials, I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the President’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the Chairman.”
He continued, “As to the merits of the Chairman’s underlying claim, none of the committee members – Democrats or Republicans – have seen the relevant documents, now almost a week later. Whether the documents support the argument that names were improperly unmasked or distributed, it is impossible to judge, but one thing is very clear: There was no legitimate justification for bringing that information to the White House instead of the committee. That it was also obtained at the White House makes this departure all the more concerning. In the interests if a fair and impartial investigation whose results will be respected by the public, the Chairman’s recusal is more than warranted.”
In a later interview, Schiff added to his statement. “We’re the only investigation there is. If we don’t do it, no one is going to do it,” Schiff said. “Now, perhaps the White House would like it that way. But the American people, I think, want there to be a credible investigation. And if we’re not going to conduct it, then we need to have an independent commission do it.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) also released a statement regarding his thoughts on the situation. “Chairman Nunes should no longer be anywhere near this investigation, let alone leading it. For the sake of our duty to independently find the truth, and for the sake of his ability to chair the committee in its other important duties, he should recuse himself from our committee’s Russia investigation,” said Swalwell.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), another member of the committee, said Tuesday morning that Nunes should step down “in the interest of our integrity.” She said his actions raise questions about whether the panel’s investigation can be unbiased and independent. “If you become a White House whisperer, you are not independent,” she told a CNN reporter.
Nunes seems pretty adamant about staying in his position, even as Democrats rally around to oppose him. “Why would I?” he said. “It’s the same thing as always around this place — a lot of politics, people get heated, but I’m not going to involve myself with that.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to replace Nunes as chairman of the intelligence committee. “He has not been operating like someone who is interested in getting to the unvarnished truth. His actions look like those of someone who is interested in protecting the president and his party,” Schumer said.
Ryan, in response to Schumer’s request, expressed confidence in Nunes on Tuesday, saying there is no need for the chairman to resign.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), while he doesn’t think the chairman should recuse himself, said Nunes must explain why he went to the White House alone to review intelligence critical to a bipartisan congressional investigation on Russia. He said in an interview, “I’ve been around for quite a while, and I’ve never heard of any such thing.” McCain, an Arizona conservative and critic of President Trump, said Nunes must also divulge the identity of the source to rule out political influence. He said, “Something’s got to change, otherwise the whole effort in the House of Representatives will lose credibility.”
As it stands, Nunes is still Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and has the full support of Speaker Ryan and President Trump in moving forward with the investigation. It will be interesting to see how Democrats react to his decision to remain at his post, and even more interesting to see how they communicate going forward.
Bold statements from the mayor of London this last week shocked the world. Cloaked in tragedy, the city could not have been prepared for its mayor to speak out in such a way.
Sadiq Khan told the community that his thoughts and prayers were with London and its first responders. He clearly did not think much about his additional statements. Claiming that such attacks are “part and parcel” of life in a big city, he continued, “It is a reality I’m afraid that London, New York, other major cities around the world have got to be prepared for these sorts of things.”
Understandably, people were outraged.
“Does it not cross your brain that the only reason Islamic terrorism is a threat is because we have imported millions of muslims who follow a book that tells them they are the best of peoples and everyone else is scum, and their duty to ‘allah’ is to kill us all?”
“YES, WE ALL REMEMBER HOW TERRORISM WAS “PART AND PARCEL” BEFORE! SURE! DON’T YOU ALL REMEMBER THAT??? STRANGE HOW IT’S NOT “PART AND PARCEL” IN BIG CITIES WITHOUT A MUSLIM POPULATION! HAS ANYBODY NOTICED THAT? WHY IS THAT???”
“Living with the threat of being blown to bits is not part and parcel of living in a big city. Why is Khan appeasing terrorists? Is it because they are his mates that voted for him?”
It turns out they very well might be his friends. Evidence is coming to light that points to a clear and strong link between Khan and organizations that promote terror.
Khan, while a legal advocate, was the Chief Legal Advisor for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). The group created a delegation to address what they were describing as “indiscriminate” arrests of Muslims in 2003.
The Council had admitted to giving money to groups tied to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Consequently, they have been banned from Israel. This drew the scrutiny of the British government as well. They discovered “irregularities” in aid received from the government of over one million pounds, or about one and a half million dollars.
Showing his solidarity, Khan spoke at an event in 2004 where Ibrahim Hewitt was also featured. Hewitt is notorious for his views on adultery. He has openly admitted to being in favor of stoning as a punishment for the offense. He also serves on The Palestinian Relief and Development Fund (Interpal) as chairman. The group has been named a Terrorist Entity by the United States Department of Treasury for “providing support to Hamas and acting as part of its funding network in Europe.”
During the same year, the London mayor also spoke out as a supporter of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Qatar-based Egyptian cleric. The holy man has praised suicide bombings and stated that under Islam, homosexuality is a crime. Additionally, he said that Palestinian suicide attacks against Israel are justified.
In 1999 the U.S. barred Qaradawi from entering. The UK did the same in 2008 and France agreed in 2012.
The MCB does not publically acknowledge ties with any organization. However, a report released in 2015 showed that supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood “played an important role in establishing the MCB, running it, and continue to exert significant influence.”
The UK officially cut ties with MCB in 2009 when the group signed a document supporting violence against countries in favor of an arms blockade in Gaza.
The MCB, that Khan worked for, was also found linked to Jamaat-e-Islami, a group involved with numerous terror organizations in Pakistan. Their members have even faced accusations in Bangladesh for war crimes.
Khan chose to act as legal consultation to Zacarius Moussaoui, a convicted member of the 9/11 plot. He held the distinction of being the only Muslim member of the defense team. Moussaoui was eventually extradited to America where he pled guilty. He is currently serving six life sentences without possibility of parole.
During a 2008 speech, Khan was filmed receiving support from ISIS. He was speaking at the Global Peace and Unity festival organized by the Islam Channel. They were found guilty of extremism by the British government, both before and after that speech. Audience members were seen waving the black jihad flag and wearing headbands with terrorist slogans.
How does Khan justify his associations? The answer is, he doesn’t because nobody asks. Walking on the eggshells of political correctness, there are few that would question a Muslim leader.
Terror has come to his city. Looking at the evidence, it could easily be said that it was there all along, thinly-veiled, waiting for the time to strike.
EUROPEAN Union boss Jean-Claude Juncker this afternoon issued a jaw-dropping threat to the United States, saying he could campaign to break up the country in revenge for Donald Trump’s supportive comments about Brexit.
In an extraordinary speech the EU Commission president said he would push for Ohio and Texas to split from the rest of America if the Republican president does not change his tune and become more supportive of the EU.
The remarks are diplomatic dynamite at a time when relations between Washington and Brussels are already strained over Europe’s meagre contributions to NATO and the US leader’s open preference for dealing with national governments.
Speaking at the centre-right European People Party’s (EPP) annual conference in Malta this afternoon, the EU Commission boss did not hold back in his disdain for the White House chief’s eurosceptic views.
“If he goes on like that I am going to promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas in the US.”
Mr Juncker’s comments did not appear to be made in jest and were delivered in a serious tone, although one journalist did report some “chuckles” in the audience and hinted the EU boss may have been joking. The remarks came in the middle of an angry speech in which the top eurocrat railed widely against critics of the EU Commission.
They will be seen as totally inexplicable at a time when EU-US relations appeared to be on the mend, with Vice-President Mike Pence having completed a largely successful trip to Brussels and the commander-in-chief himself significantly softening his tone towards the EU project.
Mr Juncker did not criticise Britain at all during his speech, and only made reference to Brexit in relation to Mr Trump and the opportunities it presents for Europe to reform itself.
Speaking before him, EU Council president Donald Tusk was less reserved in his remarks about the UK vote as he tore into the populist politics which led to Brexit.
The Polish eurocrat said the argument over sovereignty – epitomised by the Vote Leave slogan ‘take back control’ – was “a view that is both foolish and dangerous” and that the EU guaranteed countries’ strength of the world stage.
He also accused populist politicians, such as the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders and France’s Marine Le Pen, of promoting “organised hatred” with their views on immigration.
However his conservative colleague Antonio Tajani, the EU Parliament president, received a rapturous ovation as he launched an impassioned defence of Europe’s “Christian values”.
In a series of thinly veiled comments about immigration, a major political issue in his homeland and Malta, the Italian official said Europe should do more to defend its historic identity.
He said: “We shouldn’t be ashamed of saying we’re Christian. We’re Christian, it is our history.
“If we leave our identity we will have in Europe all identities but not European identities. For this we need to strengthen our identity.
“It is impossible to win without identity, without our values. Of course we are different, many languages, many ideas, but we are united on the values and this is the most important content.”
‘This didn’t happen overnight’: Congressional committee launches investigation into American opioid producers
Democratic senator Claire McCaskill will be leading an investigation into the manufacturers of the nation’s top 5 prescription opioid products, according to a press release by the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs committee.
The inquiry will look into the practices of Purdue, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, Insys, Mylan, and Depomed.
As part of the investigation, which the press release characterized as “wide-ranging,” the committee is asking the corporations to provide data about sales, marketing materials, internal addiction studies, details on compliance with government settlements, and donations to third party advocacy groups.
The press release states the investigation’s mission is to “explore whether pharmaceutical manufacturers … have contributed to opioid over-utilization and overprescription.”
McCaskill’s investigation comes as the country is struggling to cope with a growing drug epidemic that’s sweeping its suburbs, while researchers are uncovering more links between prescription opioid marketing and deaths from drug overdose.
A report by the Associated Press, for example, found that the makers of opioid painkillers outspent the gun lobby on campaign contributions and government lobbying by a ratio of 8 to 1. Purdue Pharmaceuticals, one of the subjects of McCaskill’s investigation and the maker of OxyContin, spent nearly $1 billion in lobbying from 2006 to 2015, which included efforts to support drugs.
The report also found that in 2015 alone, 227 million prescriptions for opioids were given out, which was “enough to hand a bottle of pills to nine out of every 10 American adults.” That year, 52,404 people died from drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Addressing the epidemic, McCaskill said, “All of this didn’t happen overnight – it happened one prescription and marketing program at a time.”
She added: “The vast majority of the employees, executives, sales representatives, scientists, and doctors involved with this industry are good people and responsible actors, but some are not. This investigation is about finding out whether the same practices that led to this epidemic still continue today, and if decisions are being made that harm public health.”
Andrew Restuccia and Alex Guillen report in Politico on the heat President Trump’s EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is taking from conservatives over reports that he successfully urged Trump not to revoke the EPA’s 2009 “endangerment finding,” a far-reaching ruling introduced by the Obama administration that labeled carbon dioxide a dangerous substance in need of broad regulation. Politico notes that among Pruitt’s high profile critics is Breitbart News’s James Delingpole.
A cadre of conservative climate skeptics are fuming about the decision — expressing their concern to Trump administration officials and arguing Pruitt is setting himself up to run for governor or the Senate. They hope the White House, perhaps senior adviser Stephen Bannon, will intervene and encourage the president to overturn the endangerment finding.
James Delingpole, a Breitbart News columnist, blasted Pruitt on Monday, arguing he is “more interested in building his political career than he is taking on the Green Blob, insiders report.” Bannon ran Breitbart before joining the Trump campaign last summer.
Delingpole, who first reported that Pruitt advocated against reopening the endangerment finding, even suggested that the EPA administrator should resign.
Meanwhile, EPA officials have expressed frustration at the presence of former Washington State Sen. Don Benton, the agency’s White House-assigned senior adviser.
Benton has repeatedly butted heads with Ryan Jackson, Pruitt’s chief of staff. Multiple sources speculated that Benton might soon leave the agency. And EPA is expected to bring in two new communications staffers, the sources said. The agency is eyeing J.P. Freire, a spokesman for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), as its new communications director and Liz Bowman, a spokeswoman at the American Chemistry Council, as its deputy communications director. Neither Freire nor Bowman responded to requests for comment.
Read the rest here.
Amanda Casanova | Religion Today Contributing Writer |
A conservative Christian student at a private college in Florida says he was suspended after he opposed his Muslim professor, who said that the crucifixion of Jesus was a hoax.
Marshall Polston, a 21-year-old sophomore, was suspended from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. In late March for being a “threat of disruption.”
According to the Central Florida Post, Polston said he challenged Professor Areeje Zufari during their “Muslim Humanities” class when she said that Jesus wasn’t crucified and that his disciples didn’t actually believe Jesus was God.
Polston said he was then given a grade of a 52 on his next essay.
“I was upset, understandably. I’ve never gotten anything less than straight A’s,” Polston said. “So, I was really interested in figuring out how to possibly improve or at least understand the grade.”
He spoke with the professor, but Polston said she then reported him to the college’s Dean of Safety.
In another of Zufari’s classes, during a discussion of Sharia law, a Muslim student argued that “a good punishment for gays, adulterers, and thieves was the removal of a certain body part, as determined by Sharia law.”
His comments were not reported as unsafe, Polston said.
Later, Polston was asked to report to the dean’s office.
“They made it clear that they had not gotten a report about what the student said, and were more concerned about the danger I was causing to the campus,” Polston said. “What danger? A difference of opinion in a college classroom is nothing out of the ordinary and certainly not dangerous. It was surreal and degrading.”
Rollins College has not released a comment regarding the suspension.
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