EPA Expands Authority Over America’s Waterways + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Thu 05/28/2015 by


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“[O]f those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.” —Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 1, 1787


EPA Expands Authority Over America’s Waterways

More than a year after initially proposing it, and despite efforts by congressional Republicans to block such a move, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Crops of Engineers, citing authority under the Clean Water Act, enacted a new rule that gives the federal government additional control over waterways. “The Obama administration issued a rule on Wednesday putting more small bodies of water and wetlands under federal protection to ensure clean drinking supplies,” The Wall Street Journal reports, a power grab that “is estimated to put about 3% more waterways throughout the U.S. under new federal jurisdiction.” Obama officials say they’re simply maximizing existing legal authority. According to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, “This rule is about clarification, and in fact, we’re adding exclusions for features like artificial lakes and ponds, water-filled depressions from constructions and grass swales.” However, the Journal adds, “The rule seeks to require those kinds of permits for only those waterways that have physical features of flowing water.”

And that’s exactly the concern, explains Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw: “The physical feature of flowing water? Depending on the conditions, the slope of the land and how much it rains on any given day, that could apply to pretty much anything.” Moreover, “People who own property adjacent to or including swampy areas with poor drainage can (and already have) run afoul of the feds if they want to improve the drainage to dry out a section for construction or just a better looking lawn.” As Mark Alexander wrote last month, Democrats, led by the powerful EPA, leverage environmental concerns to conceal their real agenda — the constriction of free enterprise. Their objective is to incrementally implement centralized economic control through regulatory requirements justified by ever-expanding “mandates.” In implementing its newest rule — “one of nearly 10 that the EPA is slated to complete in coming months,” the Journal notes — the agency is essentially saying, “Trust us.” That’s a dangerous thing to oblige when Liberty is at stake.

Krauthammer: How Amnesty Smackdown Hurts Republicans

Fox News political analyst Charles Krauthammer offered his two cents on Tuesday’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to keep a temporary injunction in place blocking executive amnesty. According to Krauthammer, “For the Republicans, it’s a problem.” Here’s why: “It’s like the case going forward on ObamaCare and the thing about the exchanges and the subsidies. The problem is what happens if you win? Because if you win then the issue gets thrown back into the political arena.” He argues, “If somehow this would be completely tossed out, then the question will be, ‘what’s your plan on immigration reform,’ if anything. I think up until now, you can say, ‘well it’s in the hands of the courts.’ But at a certain point it’s not going to be and you’re going to have to answer.” Like or not, he’s right. Immigration is a sour topic, but taking Barack Obama’s diktats to court isn’t enough. Lest they want to commit political suicide, conservatives will eventually have to rally around viable solutions to the illegal immigration problem and present them in an articulate manner.

Santorum Announces Second Attempt at Presidency

Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania who appealed to conservative evangelical voters during the 2012 presidential election, announced Wednesday he will once again seek the GOP nomination for the White House. Traditionally known for his value-voter stance on same-sex marriage and abortion, Santorum may try to broaden his appeal this time around. On May 21, Santorum told the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, “We are not going be successful unless we have a message that talks to the people who are struggling to rise.” But while he came second place to Mitt Romney four years ago, he faces longer odds this time around. Statistics blog FiveThirtyEight says Santorum is running in a more crowded field this time around. This places him around 10th place in the popularity polls, right around the cutoff of the number of candidates Fox News and CNN says they will invite to preliminary presidential debates. In other words, Santorum does not only have to fight about issues, he’s running an underdog fight that may be felled by the arbitrary rules created by a media company. More…

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Your Viewing Guide to Sunday’s Showdown Over the Patriot Act

By Allyne Caan

In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, passing the Patriot Act seemed the inarguably patriotic thing to do. Nearly 14 years later, however, the lines of patriotism are less clearly drawn. Up for reauthorization, the act is facing staunch opposition — and creating strange bedfellows — in the wake of increasing concerns over government spying on the American people.

Last week, the House, by a vote of 338-88, passed not a reauthorization of the full Patriot Act but the equally patriotic sounding USA Freedom Act, which would continue the Patriot Act’s surveillance powers but end specific practices including the NSA’s data collection program (recently deemed illegal by a federal court), roving wiretaps and so-called lone-wolf surveillance tactics. Among other things, the USA Freedom Act would move the storage of telephone data from the federal government to telecommunications companies.

Between the House and president, however, the Senate stands. With 60 votes needed, the upper chamber came up short of passing the USA Freedom Act, producing just 57 votes before heading home for Memorial Day. At issue are competing views of liberty within the Senate.

Libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has long opposed the Patriot Act and would shed not a tear at its demise. He also believes the USA Freedom Act needs amending to ensure stronger protections for Americans against the government.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), on the other hand, believes the Patriot Act’s powers are requisite to security and had pushed for reauthorization of the act at best, a temporary extension at worst. He failed on both counts. Somewhere in the middle are senators who would keep much of the act but allow certain portions of it to expire.

Now, the Senate is set to reconvene this Sunday for a rare, holiday-recess vote in advance of the Patriot Act’s midnight expiration date May 31. Due to the political dance, the Senate is faced with the option of either passing the USA Freedom Act exactly as delivered by the House or allowing all provisions of the Patriot Act to expire, as the House is not slated to reconvene until Monday, several hours after the clock strikes midnight.

The FBI, for its part, has argued that the powers granted by the Patriot Act are invaluable for fighting terrorism. FBI Director James Comey pointed particularly to roving wiretaps, pursuing lone-wolf threats and provisions that allow the FBI to get court orders to track hotel and travel records as part of terrorism investigations. Attorney General Loretta Lynch echoed Comey, opposing the expiration of “vital and uncontroversial tools we use to combat terrorism and crime.” Of course, the meaning of “uncontroversial” is quite controversial.

For his part, Barack Obama is backing the House and urging the Senate to pass the USA Freedom Act, stating, “Make sure we don’t have on midnight Sunday night this task still undone, because it’s necessary to keep the American people safe and secure.” Please note: Obama’s sentiments apply only to government surveillance and not to border security.

Meanwhile, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest reassured the American people that the White House has no Plan B should Congress fail to extend parts of the Patriot Act. This is particularly comforting given executive action would be far worse, regardless of what the Senate and House agree or disagree upon.

Although the USA Freedom Act failed to meet the 60-vote muster the first time around, its prospects may be slightly better on Sunday. According to Politico, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), who voted “no” initially, has suggested he may back the bill; Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) missed the first vote but is being eyed as a possible “yes”; Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and John Boozman (R-AR) are also considered possible “yes” votes. And even McConnell admitted backing for the USA Freedom Act “makes it pretty challenging to extend the law as it is.”

In a world of increasing terror threats, it’s critical that the federal government fulfill its constitutional obligation to “provide for the common defense.” However, it’s up to the American people to ensure this clause does not become the next “general welfare” clause, abused beyond recognition in the name of the public good. While security is critical, liberty is essential. We would do well to remember that fully ceding the latter has never guaranteed the former.



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R. Emmett Tyrrell: “[F]rom Atlanta … comes a plan for alternative state funding of the school system that would provide widespread reform. … Glenn Delk wrote about the plan last week in The American Spectator. Here is the plan in a simplified form. The state legislature passes a law allowing families to establish an Education Savings Account for each child, placing up to $8,000 per student into a tax-free account. The money is there to use purely for educational purposes. Any funds left unspent in a year may be rolled over to the next year or for college. Additionally, the state applies for a waiver from the federal government so the state can apply the $1 billion it already gets to Education Savings Accounts of $10,000 each for the state’s poorest children. What is more, the state spends $8,000 per student from the $8 billion it has already set aside for students without regard for family income. Thus, the state could fund one million students without increasing funding. If you assume that the 150,000 students currently attending private schools would qualify, then 850,000 public school students would qualify. Assuming 100,000 of them use federal funds, and 850,000 public school students use state funds, that leaves 650,000 public school students to attend schools run by traditional school districts, with $8 billion in local property tax funding. … I think it is worth a try.”


Insight: “When individuals and nations have once got in their heads the abstract concept of full-blown liberty, there is nothing like it in its uncontrollable strength.” —German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)

Non Compos Mentis: “I will say that there does seem to be a pattern. Democratic presidents — and there’s two in particular I’m thinking about — over the last 35 years seem to inherit a mess of problems. Have you noticed that? So then they have to dig us out of the ditches they find themselves in and put us back on the right track. And of course, I’m talking about Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. … Are we going to hand over our country once again to the people and policies that crashed our economy before and that will shred the progress that we’ve made?” —Hillary Clinton

Annals of the absurd: “Do you think the #TexasFlooding is related to climate control or God’s rebuke?” —Al Sharpton

Village Idiot: “Last weekend, more than 1.2 million Irish voters took a courageous stand for love and family when they overwhelmingly chose marriage equality. … And here in the United States, in just the past three years we’ve gone from six states recognizing marriage equality to 37 states, comprising 224 million Americans.” —Joe Biden (The overwhelming majority of those states were forced by the courts to recognize same-sex marriage.)

Dezinformatsia: “Marriage, honeymoons and welfare: @AP exclusive shows Islamic State membership has its privileges.” —tweet from the Associated Press promoting an article titled, “For an IS fighter, a paid honeymoon in caliphate’s heart”

Late-night humor: “I’d love to have Hillary Clinton as a guest on the show, but I can’t afford her speaking fee.” —Conan O’Brien

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

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