Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Last Call For Climate Of No Change

The Supreme Court all but signaled the end of President Obama's EPA plan to regulate power plant emissions by ordering the regulations halted until the case can be heard by the high court.

The surprising move is a blow to the administration and a victory for the coalition of 27 mostly Republican-led states and industry opponents that call the regulations "an unprecedented power grab."

By temporarily freezing the rule the high court's order signals that opponents have made a strong argument against the plan. A federal appeals court last month refused to put it on hold.

The court's four liberal justices said they would have denied the request.

The plan aims to stave off the worst predicted impacts of climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions at existing power plants by about one-third by 2030.

Appellate arguments are set to begin June 2.

The compliance period starts in 2022, but states must submit their plans to the Environmental Protection Administration by September or seek an extension.

Many states opposing the plan depend on economic activity tied to such fossil fuels as coal, oil and gas. They argued that power plants will have to spend billions of dollars to begin complying with a rule that may end up being overturned.

At this point, there's little doubt that there's five justices willing to kill the plan even though the Supreme Court wouldn't hear the case until at least 2017.   At this point the courts have all but put an end to recess appointments, immigration reform, and now climate change that Republicans refuse to act upon.

This one is going to hurt, frankly.  There's little doubt that a Democrat in the White House wouldn't tackle regulations like this again until a second term, and it will take at least that long to get control of the House back from the GOP.

Another six years of dicking around and refusing to do anything about climate change is only going to make things worse.

Budget Busters

Everything you need to know about the massive disrespect (if not pure and outright contempt) that Republicans display for the nation's first black president is evidenced in the fact that the GOP refuses to allow President Obama's budget chief to testify in front of Congress, something that hasn't happened in over 40 years.

President Obama sends Congress his eighth and last annual budget proposal on Tuesday, a lame-duck executive’s accounting of national priorities that Republican leaders have branded sight unseen: dead before arrival.

But some new ideas that the administration previewed in recent weeks, including on cancer research, opioid abuse and military projects, could have more life than Republicans care to admit. A $10-a-barrel oil tax for infrastructure and clean transportation projects is certain to be too much for conservatives, but administration officials said some initiatives would prevail in some form.

Congressional Republicans went to new lengths to extinguish any such expectations. Breaking with a 41-year-old tradition, the Republican chairmen of the House and Senate budget committees announced that they would not even give the president’s budget director, Shaun Donovan, the usual hearings in their panels this week

Keep in mind that every President since Carter has sent a budget to be reviewed by Congress, Republican and Democrat alike, for 41 years.  This year, Republicans can't even be bothered to do that.  It is hard to see this as anything other than outright rancor borne out of irrational hatred of President Obama, a slap in the face that no other President in recent history has ever received.

They hate him this much.  But please, tell me again how submitting a budget proposal is somehow President Obama's fault for injecting partisan politics.

G. William Hoagland, who was the Republican staff director at the Senate Budget Committee for much of the 1980s and 1990s, and is senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, said he could not recall a year since the modern budget process took effect in the 1970s when a president’s budget director was not invited to testify before the budget committees.

“While the last budget of an outgoing president is usually aspirational, and sets a theme for what he or she hopes will be followed up by his or her successor, it nonetheless should be reviewed by the Congress,” Mr. Hoagland said.

On Monday, 14 Democrats on the House Budget Committee signed a letter calling the snub “disrespectful to the committee members, the public and the president.” And like Mr. Hoagland, other Republicans criticized the decision, which injects partisan toxicity early in a year of election pressures.

“I believe that permitting the administration the courtesy of explaining its intent and what it thinks of the policy should have been maintained,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office and an economic adviser to Republicans. Besides, he added, “it gives you an opportunity to express why you disagree.”

But it's not fair to attribute this to bigotry against the nation's first black President, right?

Centrist Dalek Horror Theater Presents: The Schoening

As the New Hampshire primaries get underway today, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirms this week that he is considering entering the 2016 presidential race as an independent, something that made the rounds as a trial balloon two weeks ago.  Now however Bloomberg himself is saying he's considering making the jump.

The billionaire media mogul and three-time former New York mayor told Financial Times in an interview published Monday that he is “looking at all the options.”

Fellow New York billionaire Donald Trump has been leading polls on the Republican side for months, and Hillary Clinton only narrowly escaped Iowa with a victory over a self-described "democratic socialist." Bloomberg, who is considering running as an independent, said Americans deserve “a lot better.”

Bloomberg has set a March deadline to determine whether he will run, and should he decide yes, he told the FT he would have to begin getting his name on ballots next month. He has signaled he could spend at least a billion dollars of his own money to sustain a campaign, according to a New York Times report citing anonymous sources briefed on his deliberations.

That's not the funny part.  The funny part is who's advising him.

Bloomberg's pollster, Douglas Schoen, outlined the case for his boss's potential White House bid in an op-ed last week for the Wall Street Journal.

Pundits are missing a large group of centrist voters who opt out of partisan primaries, Schoen argued, pointing to the low turnout in Iowa.

“That’s the new silent majority: the millions of Americans who don’t participate in Democratic or Republican primaries. They are equally as fed up with the status quo, but they have a different approach to problem-solving and different policy prescriptions than those on the ideological extremes,” Schoen wrote.

That has created an opportunity for someone to mount an independent run, he argued:

“Who fits the bill? Michael Bloomberg, a centrist with a clear (and arguably unique) record in business as an entrepreneur and in politics as a three-term mayor of New York. Mr. Bloomberg is a fiscally prudent conciliator who advances pro-growth policies and takes tough stands."

That's right, the guy running Bloomberg's numbers is none other than our old friend Doug Schoen, the obnoxious No Labels/Americans Elect centrist grifter that warned Obama could never win re-election in 2012 and that Hillary had to primary him, that Obama had to champion the Simpson/Bowles Catfood Commission, that the Democrats were the real extremists, that Obama had to become a right-wing Democrat in order to attract Tea Party votes, that Trump should have gotten into the race in 2012 as in independent, and my personal favorite, that Barack Obama should have dropped out of the 2012 race completely for the good of America.

It looks like Doug has found his Trojan Horse to sink the Democrats and get his massive austerity cuts by splitting votes in favor of the GOP in Bloomberg, so if there was any doubt that a Bloomberg run is more Nader than Perot, the fact that Doug Schoen is involved should have you running for the exits.

The Centrist Daleks are baaaaaack!


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