Hannity's New Deal; Trump Finds This Amazing; Ed Klein's Book

Sunday, 27 May 2012 03:15 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Wind Farms Killing 'America's National Symbol'
2. Donald Trump Praises 'Amazing' Newsmax
3. Mexican Cartels Policing Alien Smuggling
4. Gas Prices Spark Huge Turnaround for U.S. Energy
5. Tobacco Sales Show Pitfalls of Tax Increases
6. We Heard: Sean Hannity, Edward Klein
 

1. Wind Farms Killing 'America's National Symbol'

The federal government last August imposed hefty fines on seven petroleum companies in North Dakota over the death of 28 birds near their open waste pits.

The wind farms championed by promoters of "green energy," by comparison, kill more than 400,000 birds a year — including dozens of eagles — yet they pay not a penny in fines.

"Team Obama wants to give wind-power companies long-term permits to butcher bald eagles, America's national symbol, on the altar of green energy," writes Deroy Murdock, a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) disclosed: "With more than 100,000 turbines expected to be in operation in the United States by 2030, annual bird mortality rates alone (now estimated at 440,000 a year) are expected to exceed one million."

Among those avian victims are bald eagles and golden eagles that fly into the turbine blades revolving at up to 200 miles per hour.

Determining an exact count for dead eagles is difficult because other animals may eat the carcasses, but 67 golden eagles are estimated to die annually at just one California wind farm, at Altamont Pass. Overall, the toll could surpass 500 golden eagles a year at wind farms in the eagles' habitat in the western United States.

But a 2009 Obama-era law allows wind farms and others to kill eagles if the harm is unintentional. This loophole lets wind companies escape "the penalties that can befall those with eagle blood on their hands but without political connections," notes Murdock, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service whose article appeared on National Review Online.

First-time violators of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act can receive $5,000 fines and a one-year prison sentence, and second offenses can double those punishments — with wind farms exempt.

Three years ago, following an FWS investigation, PacifiCorp paid $10.5 million in fines after 232 golden eagles and other protected birds were electrocuted when they landed on its power lines in Wyoming during a 2½-year period.

In the North Dakota case, an Obama-appointed U.S. attorney brought charges against the oil companies for the deaths of mallard ducks and other birds that mistook open waste pits for natural ponds. Facing fines of at least $15,000 per bird and six months in jail, the companies pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1,000 per bird, although a federal judge later dismissed the case.

Last July, the FWS took enforcement to a new level of absurdity by threatening to impose a fine of $535, plus imprisonment, on the mother of an 11-year-old girl in Virginia accused of illegally possessing a woodpecker she saved from a hungry cat and soon released. The woodpecker is a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

But after the story garnered national attention, the FWS decided the situation was a "misunderstanding" and withdrew charges, according to a Heritage Foundation report.

Murdock concludes: "If bald eagles dropped dead beside oil derricks, Washington would pound the petroleum industry. Instead, wind propellers chop bald eagles in half. Team Obama then lets wind companies eradicate even more of this republic's innocent national bird," which is being "sacrificed in the name of environmental correctness."

Editor's Note:



2. Donald Trump Praises 'Amazing' Newsmax

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump offers high praise for Newsmax and its success in utilizing modern-day technology to deliver information to readers.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Wednesday, the "Apprentice" host touched upon Facebook, which he said he uses in his marketing campaigns.

"We use Facebook and we use all forms of technology and we're very heavy into the Internet," he said.

"I can see why they're taking over newspapers. Look at Newsmax and the great job that Newsmax does. It's amazing. This is based on modern-day technology.

"What [CEO] Chris Ruddy and the people at Newsmax have done is amazing, and very much based on modern-day technology."

Editor's Note:



3. Mexican Cartels Policing Alien Smuggling

Operatives are finally gaining control of the smuggling of illegal aliens along the U.S.-Mexican border. Unfortunately, those operatives are Mexican drug cartels.

"Gatekeepers" linked to Mexican drug cartels "are dictating when and where" alien smugglers are allowed to cross the border into the United States, Matthew Allen of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told House lawmakers.

And when those smugglers disregard warnings from cartels, they can be killed, he said.

Cartel gatekeepers "are responsible for overseeing and coordinating smuggling activities in a given geographic area and collecting taxes and fees from anyone wishing to smuggle contraband, including human smuggling organizations," Allen said at a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee in Arizona on Monday.

This coordination "ensures that alien smugglers and their human cargo do not bring unwanted law enforcement attention" to their smuggling effort, added Allen, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations for ICE in Phoenix.

"Our investigations have shown that when alien smugglers do not heed warnings from drug smuggling organizations about where and when they smuggle, they can be targeted for physical violence, including murder."

The hearing focused on cartel activities in Arizona. In the 2011 fiscal year, about 40 percent of all illegal alien apprehensions by the Customs and Border Protection agency took place in Arizona, CNS News reported — 129,118 of 327,577, the most of any state.

Editor's Note:



4. Gas Prices Spark Huge Turnaround for U.S. Energy

Four years ago, the price of oil soared to $145 a barrel and gasoline prices rose to $5 a gallon, putting a severe strain on many Americans' budgets.

But it turns out that the high prices had a silver lining, spurring increased production and lowering demand to such an extent that oil imports projected in 2008 to cost $1 trillion a year have plunged to just $350 billion this year.

"High energy prices have transformed the American energy landscape," writes Joel Kurtzman, executive director of the Center for Accelerating Energy Solutions at the Milken Institute.

"Those who doubt that market forces still have the power to transform the world aren't paying attention to America's revitalized energy sector."

With oil prices high four years ago, companies began drilling new wells using 3D seismic imaging and other new technologies, Kurtzman points out. In 2002, when oil prices were low, there were about 800 oil-drilling rigs in the United States, while today there are roughly 2,000 — the most in the country since 1985.

Companies also sought and found more offshore oil and far more oil from shale, tar sands, and long-abandoned wells.

As a result, domestic oil production has risen 12 percent since 2008. At the same time, high gasoline prices encouraged sales of more fuel-efficient vehicles. Today imported oil accounts for just 45 percent of total consumption, down from 61 percent four years ago.

The search for new energy sources has also brought a revolution in the natural gas industry. In 2008, America was estimated to have just 12 years of natural gas reserves left, and plans were in place to import liquefied gas.

But high energy prices spurred companies to develop hydraulic fracturing to release gas from shale rock. Estimates now are that the United States has enough natural gas to last for at least 100 years.

What's more, natural gas prices here have plunged from as much as $14 per thousand cubic feet in 2008 to just $2 today. And with prices as high as $16 per thousand cubic feet in Asia, the United States could soon begin exporting gas, "perhaps even balancing our perennially in-the-red trading account," according to Kurtzman, whose article appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

Natural gas prices are so low that trucking firms are looking to cut their fuel bills in half by converting trucks from diesel to natural gas. A bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate and House would provide tax credits for the cost of conversion and for building natural-gas fuel stations.

The turnaround in the energy industry "has transformed the U.S. from an energy has-been to a heavyweight," Kurtzman observed.

"The U.S. is so energy rich there's little to prevent us from achieving energy independence."

Editor's Note:



5. Tobacco Sales Show Pitfalls of Tax Increases

Monthly sales of pipe tobacco increased from about 240,000 pounds in January 2009 to more than 3 million pounds last September, while roll-your-own tobacco dropped from about 2 million pounds to 315,000 pounds.

It's not hard to figure out why: The Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2111 boosted taxes on roll-your-own products far more than on pipe tobacco.

That means users could purchase pipe tobacco to roll into cigarettes to avoid the higher taxes. And since the Internal Revenue Code does not specify "distinguishing physical characteristics" differentiating the two products, according to the General Accounting Office, sellers can market roll-your-own tobacco as pipe tobacco to skirt the tax increase.

Similarly, sales of large cigars rose from 411 million to over 1 billion from January 2009 to September 2011, while small cigar sales dropped from about 430 million to 60 million.

The GAO explained in a new report: "Though CHIPRA also increased federal excise tax rates for pipe tobacco and large cigars, it raised the pipe tobacco tax to a rate significantly below the equalized rate for [cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and small cigars], and its large-cigar excise tax can be significantly lower, depending on price."

The GAO estimates that federal revenue losses due to market shifts from roll-your-own to pipe tobacco and from small to large cigars range from about $615 million to $1.1 billion for the period studied.

A National Center for Policy Analysis report on the GAO's findings states: "The study demonstrates that producers and consumers alike respond to taxes by changing their behavior, favoring lower-taxed products."

Editor's Note:



6. We Heard…

THAT Sean Hannity has signed a new multi-year deal with the Fox News Channel that will keep him in his current role through at least 2016.

Hannity has been with Fox News since the network launched in 1996. His 9 p.m. Eastern program, "Hannity," is the second most-watched cable news show, averaging 2.1 million viewers a night, the TVNewser website reported.

"Hannity's years of experience and thought-provoking commentary will continue to engage and excite loyal viewers," Fox News chairman Roger Ailes said in a statement. "He is a remarkable asset to the network and we are happy that he'll remain in his current role."

THAT Edward Klein's explosive new book about the Obama White House will debut on the New York Times best-seller list at No. 1 this week.

In "The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House," Klein — a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, former foreign editor of Newsweek, and former editor-in-chief of the New York Times Magazine — pulls back the curtain on one of the most secretive White Houses in history.

Klein's previous works on the Kennedys and Hillary Clinton were also blockbuster best-sellers.

Note: Newsmax magazine is now available on the iPad. Find us in the App Store.

Editor's Note:



Editor's Notes:

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