Category Archives: Rio + 20

In 2012 the United Nations will convene the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio 2012 or Rio+20, hosted by Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, as a 20-year follow-up to the historic 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that was held in the same city. The conference is organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Obama’s doomed attempt to save his legacy

The White House adopts a strategy of deception by distraction

By Emily Miller

President Obama’s approval ratings are falling faster than skydiver Felix Baumgartner during his record-setting jump from outer space.

In a desperate move to salvage his second term, Mr. Obama threw out his top liberal agenda items — immigration, gun control and race relations — and pivoted to the economy. The problem is that the only one to blame for the five-year malaise is the current resident of the Oval Office.

The president fueled up Air Force One on Wednesday to fly to the heartland for two stops in an attempt to physically distance himself from Washington.

“It may seem hard right now, but if we’re willing to take a few bold steps — if Washington will just shake off its complacency, set aside the kind of slash-and-burn partisanship that we’ve seen over the past few years — I promise you, our economy will be stronger a year from now,” Mr. Obama said at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.

The president acts like he just arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue last week. He’s had four years, yet his policies have failed to create jobs and restore economic growth.

“There are days I think he forgets that he is actually president,” Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, told me Thursday. “He wants to blame everyone but himself and his failure to join bipartisan efforts to create jobs, like the Keystone pipeline, is the reason we are not in a better place.”

The economy has never grown much more than by minuscule amounts during the Obama administration. Gross domestic product has grown at an anemic pace since he’s been in the White House, barely sputtering at 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013. Unemployment under Mr. Obama has averaged a discouraging 8.8 percent and still tops out at 7.6 percent.

Gas prices are rising again, but Mr. Obama spent a long stretch of these speeches touting the doubling of “clean energy” production on his watch. He claimed to have “saved the auto industry,” but didn’t mention that Detroit has gone bankrupt.

Most absurdly, he cited as a point of pride that “our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.” He left out two key points: The congressional Republicans demanded spending cuts for increasing the debt ceiling, and the rate of decrease is high because the deficits themselves have been the largest red ink in U.S. history. Spending was $1.4 trillion more than revenue in 2009 and $1 trillion more in 2012.

The Congressional Budget Office projects a $642 billion deficit for this fiscal year, but that’s mostly because Mr. Obama hiked taxes on Jan. 1 to pay for his spending habits.

The president takes almost as little responsibility for his own actions as Anthony D. Weiner, the disgraced sexting addict and former congressman running for New York City mayor.

“With this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop,” the president said in a 64-minute speech at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. “Our focus has to be on the basic economic issues that matter most to you, the people we represent.”

By “phony scandals,” Mr. Obama is referring to the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives and then concealing the evidence and refusing to provide testimony to a congressional committee. He is also referring to his Justice Department sneaking into the emails and phone calls of reporters who don’t support the Obama administration’s agenda.

The president’s “endless parade of distractions” would also include exposing the National Security Agency’s secret Prism program that has been spying on innocent Americans’ Internet searches, phone calls and emails.

It has also been distracting to have Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. launch an investigation into whether George Zimmerman broke federal racial discrimination laws when he killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

Story Continues →

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World Bank’s no-coal decree could leave developing nations in the dark, critics say

By Perry Chiaramonte
Published July 17, 2013
FoxNews.com

The World Bank has approved a new energy initiative that will severely limit funding of coal-fired power plants and projects around the world, meaning developing countries could be unable to obtain access to cheap electricity.

“It will make a difference. [It will] be more expensive for underdeveloped countries to obtain the cheapest form of electricity,” Milton Catelin, Chief Executive for the World Coal Association, told FoxNews.com. “I think the World Bank has moved away from their original purpose and they have failed with poverty eradication so they are jumping on the climate control bandwagon.

“But for the benefit of society as a whole, they [the World Bank] should be at a balance between eradicating poverty and climate control,” he added.

The World Bank’s board said on Tuesday it was seeking to balance environmental efforts with energy needs in poorer, undeveloped countries and was limiting funding of coal-fired power plants and projects to only “rare circumstances.”

Its “Energy Sector Directions Paper” also said it would increase backing of hydroelectric power, which it had originally abandoned nearly two decades ago.

Officials from the World Bank told FoxNews.com that while they are now operating under the new energy initiative, they would look at energy-related issues on a case-by-case basis.

“We think that there will be a certain amount of countries within the next ten years that will not be able to use another viable source of energy,” said Rachel Kyte, Vice President Sustainable Development for the World Bank. “We don’t want to turn around and say that they will have to wait fifteen years for a new source.

“It’s impossible to improve the economy and meet the needs of the poor without having energy,” Kyte said. You cannot have entrepreneurialism going if you cannot flip on the power. What we firmly believe is that you can’t end poverty without addressing energy.”

She added that the World Bank will make allowances for Greenfield coal power generation on a case-by-case basis. The Greenfield method involves an “end point” for a power plant, when its land is restored to its original condition.

The World Bank has been going in a new direction under current president Jim Yong Kim, the first scientist to head the group, and has taken a more aggressive stance on climate change.

In the past, multilateral organizations have been criticized for urging global action to cut carbon dioxide emissions while funding coal-powered plants at the same time.

The World Bank previously defended itself  by saying some of the poorest countries in the world have no other choice and need energy from coal to end poverty.

Now, Catelin said, “The reality is that they listen to the administration in Washington which has taken a negative stance on coal.

“It’s ridiculous to think that the World Bank has anything to do with poverty eradication anymore. They’ve become nothing more than another international body.”

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WHY COLLECT SO MUCH INFORMATION IF OBAMA REFUSES TO USE IT AGAINST TERROR?

Is Washington Ready For a Carbon Tax?

By Amy Harder

Should President Obama and Congress pursue a carbon tax?

The policy proposal has been garnering increasing attention among Washington’s think tank and academic leaders across the ideological spectrum as a way to simultaneously combat global warming and cut the ballooning federal deficit. It’s unclear whether it will gain traction in Congress, given the dicey politics of new taxes and climate change, let alone the combination of the two. To wit: Republican leaders in the House have signed a “no climate tax” pledge, indicating a steep path to passage through the House. These challenges aside, some experts say that Congress could impose a carbon tax in exchange for a lower income-tax rate as part of the comprehensive tax reform that lawmakers hope to tackle next year.

What are the policy pros and cons of a carbon tax? How does a carbon tax compare to other policy proposals, such as cap-and-trade, in terms of both political feasibility and policy? Can Congress overcome the political hurdles to pass such a measure? If so, what would it look like?

Read more: 13 Responses

Rand Paul Tweets About Federal Hollow Point Bullet Purchases

By Peter Barbour

A hollow point bullet is an expanding bullet that has a pit or hollowed out shape in its tip, often intended to cause the bullet to expand upon entering a target in order to decrease penetration, causing the target to absorb more of the impact and disrupting more tissue as it travels through a body. Hollow point bullets are designed to inflict maximum damage to their targets. They’re not practice rounds. The purpose of hollow points is to kill and maim.

In a trend that has received little attention from the media, various US domestic government agencies have been quietly purchasing millions of rounds of these hollow point bullets and other types of ammunition this year. Senator Rand Paul (KY) took some criticism earlier this week for tweeting about these strange hollow point bullet purchases, which include some of the following examples:

In March, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) signed a 5 year contract with ATK (an aerospace, defense, and commercial products company) for the purchase of up to 450 million rounds of .40 caliber hollow point bullets (HST). The HST is a hollow-point round that holds its jacket even after passing through barriers. Ron Johnson, President of ATK’s Security and Sporting group said, “We are proud to extend our track record as the prime supplier of .40 caliber duty ammunition for DHS, ICE. The HST is a proven design that will continue to serve those who keep our borders safe.”

Recently the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement (initially reported incorrectly as the National Weather Service, NWS) purchased 46,000 rounds of ammunition for semiautomatic pistols, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) bought 174,000 rounds of hollow point bullets. The primary reason given by SSA for the purchase? Training. Here is an excerpt from that statement:

“Media reports expressed concerns over the type of ammunition ordered. In fact, this type of ammunition is standard issue for many law enforcement agencies. OIG’s special agents use this ammunition during their mandatory quarterly firearms qualifications and other training sessions, to ensure agent and public safety. Additionally, the ammunition our agents use is the same type used at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
Our special agents need to be armed and trained appropriately. They not only investigate allegations of Social Security fraud, but they also are called to respond to threats against Social Security offices, employees, and customers.”

Finally, there are reports from Reuters reporter Jason Reed and Irish Daily Mail columnist Mary Ellen Synon (who was also a London-based associate producer for CBS News 60 Minutes) that both say, “The DHS is also planning to purchase a further 750 million rounds of different types of ammo in a separate solicitation…including 357 mag rounds that are able to penetrate walls.”

Such large acquisitions of such deadly ammunition by so many federal domestic agencies– including some puzzling ones like the Social Security Administration– all over such a short period of time might reasonably be expected to elicit some kind of response or comment from the White House and Congress. But they haven’t, with the exception of Sen. Rand Paul, whose reaction last week was to tweet: See Here

Senator Paul was blasted immediately for his tweet by various sources (e.g. Daily Kos, Think Progress) because he incorrectly identified the rounds as going to the National Weather Service instead of NOAA. Paul didn’t even make an accusation, nor ask a question. He simply tweeted what was originally reported by media sources– that the NWS had purchased 46,000 rounds of ammunition.

Because millions of rounds of deadly ammunition have been purchased this year, primarily by DHS, it’s not unreasonable for voters and policymakers to ask questions about it. Why purchase so much ammo, and how will it be used? Why purchase hollow point bullets for training, as SSA is claiming, instead of cheaper firing range bullets? And how does this year’s quantity and type of ammunition purchases by DHS and other government agencies compare to the quantity and type of ammunition in prior year purchases?

And why isn’t the mainstream media asking these questions more?

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