Category: bureaucracy


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EU warns of visas for US citizens if Washington implements visa waiver reforms

© Fred Greaves
The EU says it may retaliate if the US goes ahead with plans to impose visas for some members of the bloc who are currently part of the Visa Waiver Program. Brussels says it will not increase security and that US nationals may require visas to enter the EU.

A letter signed by 28 European member state ambassadors to the US was published in The Hill after Europe reacted furiously and with disbelief to plans by Washington to tighten-up the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which currently lets millions of citizens from the bloc travel to the US each year without a visa.

 

OP-ED: EU warns of visas for US citizens if Washington implements visa waiver reforms

 

Last week, the US House of Representatives adopted a bill to reform the visa program that would ban certain EU nationals from entering the US without a visa if they had visited Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan after March 2011. Some US politicians want the legislation introduced to tighten security following the November 13 Paris terror attacks.

“A blanket restriction on those who have visited Syria or Iraq, for example, would most likely only affect legitimate travel by businesspeople, journalists, humanitarian or medical workers while doing little to detect those who travel by more clandestine means overland,” the letter signed by the 28 ambassadors stated.

At present, 23 of the EU’s 28 member states enjoy visa-free travel to the US, with the remaining five nations keen to join the VWP. The bloc says it is imperative to keep the visa waiver program intact for business and tourism purposes, while the current system does not mean that it is “a license to enter the US with nothing more than the wave of a passport of an allied country.”

 

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Logo: The Washington Times

Interior Sally Jewell testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, before the House Natural Resources Oversight Committee hearing on the Animas River Spill in Colorado. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Interior Sally Jewell testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, before the House Natural Resources Oversight Committee hearing on the Animas River Spill in Colorado. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) more >

– The Washington Times – Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday she is unaware of anyone being fired, fined or even demoted for the Gold King Mine spill, prompting Republicans to accuse her of taking the EPA off the hook for the toxic blowout.

“So you’re letting the EPA get off scot-free it sounds like. They are not being held accountable,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn, Colorado Republican, at the House Natural Resources Committee hearing.

Republicans took Ms. Jewell to task for the Interior Department’s investigation into the Aug. 5 spill, saying the October report failed to hold anyone responsible for unleashing 3 million gallons of orange, toxic wastewater into the Animas River near Silverton, Colorado.

“You’re directly responsible for this report. The EPA had promised this committee a thorough investigation,” said Rep. Tom McClintock, California Republican. “We have not gotten one. What we have gotten is a complete, deliberate whitewash.”

 

 

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 Sputnik

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at Nazarbayev University on November 2, 2015 in Astana

US Secretary of State John Kerry Lays Out Washington’s Policy in Syria

© REUTERS/ Brendan Smialowski/Pool
US

21:36 12.11.2015(updated 01:23 13.11.2015) 

Speaking at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed Washington’s foreign policy in Syria.

“The stakes could not be higher,” Kerry said on Thursday, before insisting that the United States is “on the right track and we are making gains and we are clear on the road ahead.”

The secretary of state also reiterated the Obama administration’s three principle goals for ending the conflict. The first is the necessity for defeating the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group, the second is the intensification of diplomatic efforts, and the third being a determination to support regional allies to ensure that Syria’s instability does not spread beyond its borders.

Kerry also spent a good deal of time claiming that the Syrian government was ultimately responsible for the creation of IS. While the international community largely agrees that the principle cause for the terrorist group’s formation was the instability created by the US-led invasion of Iraq, Kerry blamed local dissatisfaction with the leadership of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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The New American

Thursday, 05 November 2015 
Written by 

Photo of Secretary of State John Kerry with President: AP Images

 

Following years of secret negotiating, the Obama administration released the text of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) at 3:30 a.m. today (Thursday, November 5). Although billed as a “trade agreement,” the treaty calls for economic and political “integration” among the TPP members. Adopting the model that transformed the European Common Market into the European Union, the TPP creates regional governing structures and processes aimed at eventual convergence into a similar EU-style super-state.

Currently, the TPP’s negotiating member states include the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. However, as we have been reporting here for years (see here and here ), the TPP architects have long stated their plans to use the TPP as a “stepping stone” to a much larger Free Trade Area of the Asian Pacific (FTAAP) that includes China and Russia.

The newly released text confirms this goal officially. The TPP Preamble states:

The Parties to this Agreement, resolving to:
ESTABLISH a comprehensive regional agreement that promotes economic integration….
EXPAND their partnership by encouraging the accession of other States or separate customs territories in order to further enhance regional economic integration and create the foundation of a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific.

As Christian Gomez reported for The New American on November 4, Secretary of State John Kerry (shown above with Obama) recently invited both Communist China and Russia to join the TPP. “We invite people to come join other initiatives, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the TPP. We welcome China, we welcome Russia, we welcome other countries who would like to join, as long as they want to raise the standards and live up to the highest standards of protecting people and doing business openly and transparently and accountably,” Kerry said in an interview with Russian interstate channel Mir TV.

 

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The New American

Friday, 06 November 2015

Senator Blasts TPP as “Global Governance,” Says Stop Fast-Track

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Senator Blasts TPP as “Global Governance,” Says Stop Fast-Track

Photo of Sen. Jeff Sessions: AP Images

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has wasted no time in sounding the alarm over the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which the Obama administration unveiled to the public and Congress on Thursday.

The enormous agreement (over 5,500 pages), which had been negotiated over the past several years in strictest secrecy and kept tightly under wraps until now (see here  and here), “confirms our fears,” said Sessions, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest.

“The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership runs 5,554 pages,” declared Sessions, in a statement issued Thursday, soon after the release of the text. “This is, by definition, anti-democratic,” he charged. “No individual American has the resources to ensure his or her economic and political interests are safeguarded within this vast global regulatory structure.”

According to Sessions: “The predictable and surely desired result of the TPP is to put greater distance between the governed and those who govern. It puts those who make the rules out of reach of those who live under them, empowering unelected regulators who cannot be recalled or voted out of office.  In turn, it diminishes the power of the people’s bulwark: their constitutionally-formed Congress.”

Sessions, who has been one of the most trenchant critics of the TPP among Republicans in Congress, has repeatedly pointed out that hidden under the verbiage about trade and jobs, the TPP amounts to the instigation of an entirely new governance system, one that would gradually supplant our own. “Among the TPP’s endless pages are rules for labor, environment, immigration and every aspect of global commerce — and a new international regulatory structure to promulgate, implement, and enforce these rules,” he warns. “This new structure is known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission — a Pacific Union — which meets, appoints unelected bureaucrats, adopts rules, and changes the agreement after adoption.”

 

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Double standards, demonization of Russia made Middle East worse – US lawmaker

U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Ca) © Shuji Kajiyama
US double standards towards Russia and refusal to work with President Putin in the Middle East and elsewhere have resulted in an Islamist takeover in Libya and bloodshed in Syria, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) has told senior US diplomats.

“The double standard that we have been judging Russia with, and basing our policy on that double standard, has caused us great harm,” Rohrabacher said at a hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday morning. “Had we been working with the Russians all along in good faith, I believe the situation in the Middle East would have been totally different, and better, more stable.”

Washington ‘Hostility’ to Cooperation With Russia Impedes Middle East Peace: US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher c… http://bit.ly/1RUxGYM 

The California lawmaker took exception to Russia-bashing by his colleagues, as well as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and her colleague Anne Patterson, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Nuland and Patterson were at the House committee hearing to brief lawmakers on US policies in the wake of Russia’s intervention in Syria against Islamic State militants.

Washington has accused Russia of bombing the US-backed “moderate rebels” rather than Islamic State targets. Moscow maintains the Russian air force is targeting all terrorists inside the country, including IS and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra. Patterson admitted that al-Nusra had “absorbed a number of what we would previously call the moderate opposition” during the hearing.

 

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President Obama arrives at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard in Cushing, Okla. on March 22, 2012. (Associated Press)
President Obama arrives at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard in Cushing, Okla. on March 22, 2012. (Associated Press) more >
– The Washington Times – Updated: 9:28 p.m. on Monday, November 2, 2015

The company proposing to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline asked the State Department on Monday to halt indefinitely its ongoing review of the massive project, adding new delays and uncertainties, and possibly ensuring that final word will come from President Obama’s successor.

Amid legal challenges in Nebraska — ground zero in the fight over the project — TransCanada officials sent a letter to Secretary of State John F. Kerry and called on the administration to cease immediately its Keystone approval process.

The move raises a real possibility Mr. Obama will not be the one to make a decision on the pipeline and that the next president, perhaps one more inclined to back new oil-and-gas infrastructure in the U.S., will be the final arbiter.

Powerful environmental groups quickly condemned TransCanada’s request and said it’s clear the company simply wants to delay a decision until January 2017, when a Republican may enter the White House.

 

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Legalization bill will become law unless McCrory vetoes

Spring Hope has one of the only hemp processing plants in the country

Supporters battle stigma: ‘We’re for rope, not dope’

 

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This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward.

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A ‘promise’ Obama made years ago

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marijuana-cannabis-medical-735-350
by Christina Sarich
Posted on October 28, 2015

In a huge legal win, a federal judge in San Francisco has issued a landmark ruling that could serve to halt the DEA’s overly liberal interpretation of laws that have allowed them power to conduct search and destroy missions for medical marijuana.

In possibly the first-ever federal decision of its kind, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, slapped more than the DEA’s wrists. His decision stated that the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment clearly prevents the Justice Department from spending taxpayer money to hunt and chase marijuana users in states that have established medical marijuana programs.

The federal ruling comes from a case involving the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana founder, Lynette Shaw, who was forced to close down her medical marijuana dispensary in 2011 after the Justice Department served her with a federal injunction.

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A portrait shot of Paul Ryan, looking straight ahead. He has short brown hair, and is wearing a dark navy blazer with a red and blue striped tie over a light blue collared shirt. In the background is the American flag.

……………………Paul Ryan was sworn in as speaker of the House………………..

USA TODAY

Paul Ryan was sworn in as the 54th speaker of the House. He remarked that, to him, the House represents the best of America, but that it is broken and needs fixing. USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Newly elected Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday it is time to fix a “broken” House and begin solving the nation’s problems instead of adding to them.

“The American people make this country work, and the House should work for them,” Ryan said in a speech on the House floor after his election. “What a relief it would be to the American people if we finally got our act together. What a weight off their shoulders.”

Ryan was elected the 54th speaker of the House as his colleagues looked to the Wisconsin Republican to help unite his fractious party and end the constant crises that have come to dominate the chamber in recent years.

He received 236 of the 432 votes cast. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., received 184. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., got 9 votes. A handful of other people got a total of three votes.

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