States Sue Feds Over New Life After People Regulations

by: the Common Constitutionalist

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A few days ago I heard Mark Levin discussing a lawsuit filed by 18 states over new federal government rules expanding the scope of “critical habitat” for endangered and threatened species.

The rules aren’t actually that new anymore, as they were published on February 2, 2016 and took effect on March 14, 2016. Still, I’m sure very few are aware of them, which is just the way the federal government likes it.

According to the Federal Register, these “final rules” are meant to, “amend portions of our regulations that implement the Endangered Species Act of 1973.” Isn’t that nice.

This is yet another exhausting example of the erection of progressive framework. The original “Endangered Species Act” was passed into law in 1973, under the progressive Nixon administration. This set up the original framework, which is all they ever need to get started. read more

But We Did it for the Children

From:  of The Blaze

When Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) heard that a school in his home state was fined $15,000 for accidentally selling soda during lunch, thus violating federal law, he was angry. But that’s only part of the story. While The Blaze brought that story national attention on Thursday, now we come to find out that it wasn’t the only school that had to fork over thousands of dollars for selling soda at the wrong time.

As it turns out, Box Elder High School in Brigham City, Utah, was fined $19,000 for its own violation of the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids act of 2010.

That led Bishop to deliver a passionate House speech on Wednesday where he lectured his colleagues on the Constitution.

“It is restated in the 10th Amendment where each level of government had a specific and distinct responsibility. When the states were interfering with the federal government, it produced historical catastrophic consequences,” Bishop said on Thursday. “But also when the federal government interferes with the role of states, the consequences will range from being catastrophic to just plain silly.”

He wasn’t done:

“In 2010, this congress passed the Healthy and Hunger-free Kids Act. We were wrong to pass it for five reasons. Number one, it was a Senate bill–that should have been our first tipoff. Number two, it was opposed by the National Governor’s Association. Three, it was opposed by the school boards association. Four, it violated the Constitution. Finally, number five, we created a one-size-fits-all federal program, not defined by us.”

Bishop explained both schools are important to him: he graduated from one and taught at the other for 23 years.

“It was wrong for Congress to invade the role of states. It was wrong to punish kids for these silly reasons. It is wrong to violate federalism,” he concluded. “If a community, school, and their PTA wanted to create the standards themselves, fine. It is wrong for this body to think that every issue has to be decided here in this room and it is wrong for us to forget that the 10th amendment has a purpose. It is there for a reason and should be respected.”

You can watch the speech below:

By the way, Bishop pleaded with his colleagues in 2010 not to pass this exact legislation for fear of a federal power grab (that would replace local and parental common sense). It seems he was right:

Affordable Light Bulbs

Government Stupidity Defies Satire When a $50 Light Bulb Wins an Affordability Prize

 by: Daniel J. Mitchell

I’ve written about the government’s war on consumer-friendly light bulbs (and also similar attacks on working toilets and washing machines that actually clean), so I’m generally not surprised by bureaucratic nonsense.

But even I’m shocked the federal government gave an affordability award for a light bulb that costs $50. I’m not making this up. Here’s a blurb from ABC News.

The U.S. government has awarded appliance-maker Philips $10 million for devising an “affordable” alternative to today’s standard 60-watt incandescent bulb. That standard bulb sells for around $1. The Philips alternative sells for $50. Of course, the award-winner is no ordinary bulb. It uses only one-sixth the energy of an incandescent. And it lasts 30,000 hours–about 30 times as long. In fact, if you don’t drop it, it may last 10 years or more. But only the U.S. Government (in this case, the Department of Energy) could view a $50 bulb as cheap.

Isn’t that wonderful? My tax dollars were used to reward a company that produced a light bulb I can’t afford.

Lisa Benson has a very good cartoon about this light bulb, as well as the less-than-shocking news that Obamacare will be more costly than originally forecast.

Sneeky Uncle Sam

The Government is Playing Hide and Seek With Airfare Taxes
By Daniel Horowitz:

When purchasing a product or service, we all like to see the itemized list of charges – one that separates the cost of the purchase from the share going to Uncle Sam through the form of taxes and fees. Needless to say, government bureaucrats don’t like that. They desire that we remain blissfully ignorant of government’s burden on our everyday lives. This is one reason why they concocted the withholdings scheme for income tax collection. Now, they are expanding their tentacles into commercial taxes so they can obfuscate the magnitude of taxes and fees on airfare purchases.

Without much fanfare, the Department of Transportation (DOT) enacted a rule which requires airlines to ensconce all government taxes and fees in a single total advertised price with the fare. For example, if you purchase a $350 plane ticket with $50 of taxes and fees, the DOT is demanding that the airline advertise the price as $400. Airline passengers pay over a dozen taxes and fees on any given airplane ticket, but the government doesn’t want us to know that. The rule was finalized last April, but only took effect last week.

The timing of this rule is very fortuitous. This week, Congress will finalize negotiations for a long-term FAA funding bill. This bill authorizes the collection of all taxes – including taxes on aviation fuel, domestic and international ticket taxes, and cargo –directed to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which provides the bulk of FAA funding. As usual, Democrats want to spend more money on wasteful projects, and are all too hungry to increase aviation taxes. What better way to leverage tax increases than by forcing airlines to hide their cost and to shoulder the blame for the perceived higher price tag at the top!

This is yet another insidious plan to raise taxes and place unconstitutional mandates on private enterprise – all by administrative fiat. It must be stopped in its tracks. Today, conservative Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) is introducing a bill, the Travel Transparency Act, which will void the DOT rule, and demand that passengers have the right to view all the aviation taxes in separate line items for each ticket purchased. Graves asserted that “the federal government should not be inserting itself in the private sector to limit consumers’ ability to see how much they’re getting taxed. If the American people can’t see these costs clearly, I fear it will be easier these fees and taxes to be raised without their knowledge.”

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who used to be a Republican, defended the rule as a necessary means to ensure that passengers are treated with “dignity and respect.” The only thing this rule will accomplish is ensuring that passengers retain their “respect” for government, while blaming the airlines for perceived increases in ticket prices.

At present, airline passengers are on the hook for at least 16 different taxes and fees on the average airline ticket. Additionally, they must incur the most harmful backdoor tax; the high cost of jet fuel resulting from decades of anti-energy growth policies. We must ensure that the existing taxes remain transparent so that Congress will have a harder time sneaking through new tax increases. Please ask your member of Congress to cosponsor Tom Graves’s Travel Transparency Act.

‘Islamist Firster’ President not What he Claimed

By Charles Hurt, The Washington Times:

GOLAN HEIGHTS — Surveying the live minefields, cratered roads and mortar-pocked concrete buildings along the border here between Syria and Israel, it is hard not to be reminded of the historic and monumental disappointment President Obama has been.

When he was campaigning to become the most powerful man in the last standing superpower on Earth, he spoke passionately about changing the world, restoring America’s greatness and bringing more peace and fairness to everyone.

In both foreign and domestic matters, Mr. Obama had unique credibility to change things as few presidents ever had.

Despite his background as a liberal street organizer, he campaigned on tax cuts and personal
responsibility and preached that the government simply cannot be the answer to every problem. Republicans would have no choice but to go along with an agenda to shrink the tax burden and get the federal government out of our everyday lives.

Instead, Mr. Obama has devoted his administration to raising taxes, adding to the byzantine structure of the federal government, and has created a whole new massive bureaucracy he claims really will cure our every little boo-boo.

As for the rest of the world, Mr. Obama promised to devote himself to healing the grave injustices and halting the atrocities that have afflicted the world since the rise of radical, violent jihadism. With his Muslim roots, Mr. Obama was positioned better than any leader on the global stage to speak with authority to radical Islamists and finally bring about permanent peace.

Instead, Mr. Obama chose to unilaterally alienate perhaps our most strategically important ally in the world and do all he can to cozy up to the very

people who are dedicated to destroying not only Israel, but America as well.

Leading Democrats have been in the news lately sliming Americans who stick up for Israel as being “Israel Firsters.” Well, Mr. Obama has become an “Islamist Firster.”

Since becoming president, he has not once visited our greatest ally in the region. Rather, he has gone to places like Cairo to tell the Muslim world how much he likes it. He also stunningly trashed the oath of office he took by saying it is “part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

And, of course, he apologized for the “sexuality” and “mindless violence” from the West permeating the Internet. But Internet porn and creepy videos are little match for virginity tests, stoning women and beheading Jews — all for the fun of it.

When Mr. Obama finally addressed Israel, he shockingly said the tiny country should further retrench so its well-armed enemies can retake high ground from which to fire rockets at Israelis and move closer so they can hit major population centers such as Tel Aviv.

Such a twisted and half-baked view of justice is bad enough in a president. But things are about to get much more terrifying when Iran finally gets its hands on a nuclear warhead, which appears likely to happen in a matter of months.

It will be a very complicated situation because the most powerful man in the last remaining superpower on the planet is an Islamist Firster