Monday, November 23, 2015

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, November 23, 2015

Gooble-Gooble! The count-down has begun in earnest! In just three more days we'll be eating, drinking, loving, laughing... with even more gusto than we do on a "normal" Thursday!

Woo-hoo! I just friggin' LOVE Thanksgiving!

Hell... why not start the celebration early - right?!

What are you folks thankful for?

Me? I'm thankful for my life - first and foremost - and for my family and friends...

(Not necessarily in that order!)


I'm thankful for the love and support of a good woman...

I'm thankful for a great kid and the best son-in-law I could ever ask for...

I'm thankful that for all this nation's problems and faults that I was born an American...


I'm grateful for my good health and the good health of my friends and family...

(And for those of you who do suffer health problems... my sincere prayers and best wishes do go out to you.)

I'm grateful for my wallet... for my bank accounts... for my retirement savings... for my "disposable" income... because, folks... let's not kid ourselves - money matters. Money is "security" as well as "fun." I truly am thankful that while we may not have as much as some... we have more than others...


The world can be a harsh place. Literally billions of people "exist" while folks like ourselves "live." This reality is a constant refrain playing in my head. I'm very grateful to be... ME... instead of one of... "them."

Anyway... just sharing some pre-Thanksgiving Day thoughts!

Enjoy today's newsbites! As always... they can be found within the comments section!



William R. Barker said...

* TWO-PARTER... (Part 1 of 2)

What’s a Boiler MACT?

MACT stands for the Maximum Achievable Control Technology, and is the focus of recently revised rules by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

To comply with rules justified by the President’s 2011 Executive Order 13563, industrial operations that generate their own power with boilers must further reduce emissions with questionable benefit through costly retrofitting processes in order to be legally operational. According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), EPA estimates the compliance cost for American Manufacturers will initially be nearly $5 Billion, with $1.5 Billion annually, further hampering wage and job growth.


For industrial users of electricity, Boiler MACT is fast becoming one of their largest obstacles to powering their own factories. Depending on the specific product requirements, industry requires large quantities of electricity to operate. Industries such as the paper industry have long used boilers to meet this demand, and utilized waste products or coal to power steam turbines to generate their electricity. This used to enable them to produce electricity at roughly half the market rate from the power grid.

Because of the costly nature of the rules that would force businesses to purchase new generators or invest large amounts of money to keep existing ones, thousands of jobs would be lost to meet the compliance costs.

Why are we continuing to ship jobs overseas?



William R. Barker said...

* CONCLUDING... (Part 2 of 2)

The rules are designed to further reduce exposure to mercury and particulate matter, but it is questionable whether it will achieve the health benefits the EPA projects. For this reason, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, (R-Maine), won support for an amendment to H.R. 2822, which would defund and delay enforcement of these rules until late next fiscal year.

Rep. Poliquin said in a statement, “Overregulation and poor government policies have led to higher energy prices for Maine families and businesses. Too many of our paper mills have closed because the high cost of energy in our State has made it hard to compete. With these closures came thousands of jobs lost and several closed businesses. This is simply unacceptable.


In the forest products industry alone, these and other regulations caused three Maine paper mills to close already.



Other damage is being felt in similar mills in Wisconsin. “For some plants, the capital requirements (of the EPA rule) will deplete multiple years of discretionary capital and include a continued operating cost that often equates to five to ten percent of payroll,” said Expera spokesperson Addie Teeters in 2014.

(Expera has four paper facilities in Wisconsin, and one in Maine.)

These costs impact wage growth in an industry already feeling the impact of electronic modernization, which is decreasing the demand for paper.

On Nov. 5 EPA concluded its “reconsideration” phase, leaving implementation deadline January 2016. If there are operations that have failed to upgrade to new or retrofitted boilers, fines are sure to follow in the forest products industry, as well as many others across the country.

At the very least, with thirteen long months remaining of the Obama Administration, it is a matter of economic urgency that appropriators the Boiler MACT defund be included in the upcoming omnibus spending bill for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2016. The current Administration may not care about the jobs impacted outside of the beltway, but it is important to buy time for a future administration that might.

If there is to be a renaissance of American manufacturing, Congress must act to run out the clock on this administration, and enable the next president to repair the damage done in its wake.

William R. Barker said...

* TWO-PARTER... (Part 1 of 2)

The Obama administration let hundreds of illegal immigrants stay in the U.S. even though federal authorities knew in advance that an open borders group coached them to falsely claim “credible fear” to get asylum, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The operation was part of a scam conducted by an immigrant rights organization called the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NITA), which in recent years has coordinated demonstrations along the Southwest border in Texas and Arizona.

In this particular case, the DHS agency charged with guarding the border — Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — actually admits knowing about the ploy in advance but allows the illegal aliens to stay anyways.

Here’s an excerpt from the records obtained by JW through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA):

“BACKGROUND: The National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NITA) activists have coordinated previous demonstrations along the Southwest Border (Laredo, Texas and Nogales, Arizona). During this iteration, NIYA seek to bring 250 people to the Otay Mesa Port of Entry where they will request entry to the U.S. Previous CBP reporting of these events indicate the individuals applying for entry will have no entitlements to enter, pass through or remain in the United States and will summarily claim Credible Fear (CF).”

This is downright outrageous and has been going on for years, though we’ve never seen written evidence that the feds were complicit in a specific “credible fear” scam.

In mid-2014 the group orchestrated a racket seeking to bring 250 illegal aliens into the U.S. through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California. To assure the migrants were allowed to stay in the U.S., the group had them falsely claim that they had a “credible fear” of returning to their native country. (Foreigners can claim asylum under five categories, based on fear of persecution over race, religion, nationality, political opinions or membership in a specific social group.)


William R. Barker said...

* CONCLUDING... (Part 2 of 2)

In 2013 JW wrote about a San Diego news report that said droves of illegal aliens were flooding the Otay crossing claiming “credible fear” of Mexican drug cartels. In just one day 199 migrants had entered through Otay, the story revealed. The piece quoted a Border Patrol agent saying this: “They are being told if they come across, when they come up to the border and they say certain words, they will be allowed into the country.”

Credible fear asylum in the U.S. has become so popular that illegal aliens are hearing about it on Facebook and federal immigration authorities are overwhelmed with applications. In the last few years the number of foreigners, including large numbers from terrorist countries, asserting credible fear to gain asylum in this country has skyrocketed. During congressional testimony a few years ago, the heads of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP confirmed that the percentage of individuals expressing a fear to remain in the U.S. has risen tremendously in the last few years.

“Unfortunately the high approval rate for credible fear claims, and the resulting backlog in the immigration court system, have meant that in practice ‘credible fear’ has served to screen into the United States undocumented aliens wishing to make asylum claims,” Professor Jan C. Ting has testified to Congress. “That explains why many illegal border crossers don’t run from the U.S. Border Patrol, but instead seek them out to make asylum claims subject only to the low threshold of credible fear.”

The figures are incredibly alarming. In the last five years the number of “credible fear” asylum applications made at the border has increased sevenfold, from less than 5,000 to more than 36,000, a former Department of Justice (DOJ) and federal immigration official told Congress during a hearing earlier this year. Professor ting has told lawmakers that statistics from USCIS Asylum Division show an approval rate of 92% for credible fear claims before the 2014 border surge.

Today, the backlog of credible fear cases pending in federal immigration courts is an astounding 450,000, according to a news report published this month. This could create huge national security risks because often asylum seekers are released from custody to await a court hearing. Just last week eight Syrian refugees turned themselves into U.S. immigration authorities along the U.S.-Mexico border. They are asking for asylum because they fear returning to their war-torn, terrorist-infested nation, but U.S. authorities have no reliable way to vet them.