Sneaky Cat; That Obama

Essentially, as Marita reports, Obama with all of his latest environmental edicts, remains the sneaky cat he has always been.

Read On:

Greetings!

You know the Obama administration hides unpopular policy by introducing it at times when people are not paying attention—one such time is the Wednesday afternoon just before Thanksgiving. It is my job, our job, to get these important, though hidden, issues out there so people know about them and can respond.

You probably know that within the bundle of thousands of new regulation that the administration released on Thanksgiving eve was new ozone standards. But, like me, you may not know how onerous they are as there has been very little news coverage on the topic. When I did my research, I was shocked at the potential impact of this proposed rule—it hits virtually every energy source and manufacturing.

In Welcome to the O-zone—where economic development is a zero-sum game (attached and pasted-in-below) I explain the rule and lay out the impacts—connecting dots that I have not seen connected elsewhere. This new rule needs to be viewed as being laid on top of all of the other regulations and for its ability to thwart oil and gas development and economic growth through manufacturing.

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Welcome to the O-zone—where economic development is a zero-sum game

Late in the day on Thanksgiving eve, when no one was paying attention, the Obama administration released its Unified Agenda—a regulatory roadmap of thousands of regulations being finalized in 2015. Within the bundle of more than 3000 regulations is a rule on ozone that President Obama himself, in 2011, “put on ice” in an effort to reduce “regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.” Regarding the 2011 decision that shocked environmental groups, the New York Times (NYT) recently stated: “At the time, Mr. Obama said the regulation would impose too severe a burden on industry and local governments at a time of economic distress.”

So, why has the rule that the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) calls: “the most expensive ever imposed on industry in America,” come back? First, Obama isn’t facing an election—which, while the White House denied it, most believe to be the reason for the 2011 about-face. More importantly, however, is the fact that following the 2011 decision that struck down the proposed ozone rule, environmental groups sued the Obama administration. The resulting court order required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to release the proposed rule by December 1, with finalization by October 2015.

Once again, environmental groups—who, on September 21, came out of the closet and revealed that their true intention is system change (“capitalism is the disease, socialism is the cure”)—are in charge of America’s energy, and, therefore, economic policy. They have systematically chipped away America’s sources of economic strength: cost-effective energy. And we’ve let them.

What they are doing is reminiscent of the classic poem, attributed to pastor Martin Niemöller, which is quoted at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

First, they came after coal. It was at a time when natural gas was cheap and touted as the “bridge fuel” to the future. No one much spoke out. Some in the natural gas business even encouraged the war on coal, as it benefitted them. When I first heard that then-Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McLendon gave the Sierra Club $25 million to fight coal (it is reported that the Sierra Club turned down an additional $30 million), I remember yelling at the TV. “You fool!” I shouted. “You will be next!”

Within months, the Sierra Club launched its “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign that claims: “Increasing reliance on natural gas displaces the market for clean energy and harms human health and the environment in places where production occurs.” A headline on the Beyond Natural Gas webpage states that natural gas is: “Dirty, dangerous, and run amok.” Shortly thereafter, McLendon “agreed to retire.”

The oil industry didn’t make much noise about the Sierra Club campaign—after all natural gas prices were low and oil, high. While environmental groups generally oppose all fossil fuels, the oil industry has been hurt the least. Jobs in the oil sector of the energy industry have continued as the lone bright spot in the economy and increased U.S. production has cut our reliance on Middle Eastern crude to the lowest levels in three decades. Even as recently as November 5, President Obama bragged about decreased dependence on imported oil.

While the Obama administration hasn’t been vocally anti-oil, it has not made development easy. The permitting process for a new well on federal lands takes twice as long as it did previously. Environmental groups, with whom Obama is philosophically aligned, have continued to push for tighter regulations on hydraulic fracturing—even an outright ban (which would virtually shut down America’s new energy abundance). The Democrat-controlled New York state has already acquiesced to environmentalists’ demands.

Now, they are coming for oil-and-gas development and manufacturing through the just-announced 626-page ozone regulation, which will require states to dramatically reduce ozone emissions from the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) to a range of 65 to 70ppb—though environmental groups want a 60ppb standard which may be the final rule. While a 5-15ppb reduction doesn’t sound like much, it is important to realize that many areas of the U.S. are already out of compliance—including most of California—with the 75ppb level. The new regulations will mean that, depending on the final rule, 76-96 percent of the country—including some national parks where the natural background levels are 65-67ppb—will be out of compliance.

According to Howard Feldman, the American Petroleum Institute’s director of regulatory and scientific affairs, “earlier EPA analyses acknowledge the technology needed to achieve more stringent standards doesn’t exist.” Likewise, a NAM report, titled “Potential Economic Impacts of a Stricter Ozone Standard,” states that a majority of new reductions would have to come from “unknown controls.”

Ozone is an odorless gas that is not directly emitted into the air but is created by chemical reactions between nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC)—which occur naturally but are also produced from the burning of fossil fuels and are released in the process of drilling for oil and natural gas. For example, even before the new proposed levels were announced, Colorado’s Front Range region is out of compliance with the current rules, “driven largely by emissions from fossil fuel processing.” A report in the Colorado Independent states: “The increase in ozone violations is primarily due to emissions from oil and gas drilling.” Electric utilities and chemical solvents are also sources of NOx and VOC.

“To meet the new standards,” the National Journal says: “states will have to form plans that will limit emissions of ozone-forming pollutants from two major sources: stationary sources such as power plants and factories, and transportation”—which will reduce energy intensive economic activity. The NYT reports: “The ozone rules are expected to force the owners of power plants and factories to install expensive technology to clean pollutants from their smoke stacks”—which will raise costs to families and business. Under the current rule, ozone levels, according to the EPA, have fallen in the U.S. 33 percent since 1980 and 18 percent since 2000.

The American Legislative Exchange Council explains the impact of the new ozone proposal this way: “Virtually every state’s ability to develop industry would be seriously jeopardized because emissions from each new stationary source would have to be ‘offset’ with emissions reductions elsewhere in the nonattainment area. In practice, this means that industrial development becomes a zero-sum game, whereby every new business requires the closure of existing business.”

No wonder NAM’s response is antagonistic: “Manufacturing in the United States is making a comeback,” Jay Timmons, CEO and President, said in a press release. “We’re reducing emissions at the same time, but tightening the current ozone standard to near unachievable levels would serve as a self-inflicted wound to the U.S. economy at the worst possible time. This rule would undermine our work to expand manufacturing in the United States, making it almost impossible to increase operations, create new jobs or keep pace internationally.”

Despite the negative economic impact of the expensive rule—with figures ranging from $19 billion to $270 billion—environmental groups believe Obama will follow through this time because, as National Journal states: “the rule fits with the rest of Obama’s climate change agenda and they’d expect it to move forward even on the tighter end.” The Sierra Club’s Washington representative on smog pollution, Terry McGuire, believes: “The administration is emboldened to do that.”

While environmental groups and the Obama administration maybe feel “emboldened,” more regulation—especially that which “would impose too severe a burden on industry and local governments”—is not what the American people want or need.

“The president said his policies were on the ballot, and the American people spoke up against them,” said incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “It’s time for more listening, and less job-destroying red tape. Easing the burden already created by EPA regulations will continue to be a priority for me in the new Congress.”

“Republicans,” according to National Journal, “have vowed to target the ozone standard as a part of their early energy agenda.”

Current Minority Leader of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Vitter (R-LA) and incoming Chairman, Senator Inhofe (R-OK) called the rule: “one of the most devastating regulations in a series of over-reaching regulatory actions.” In response to the November 26 announcement, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy promised: “The House will conduct aggressive oversight and use the proper legislative approach to continue to promote cleaning the air we breathe while ensuring our communities are not burdened with unrealistic regulations.”

With the Obama administration willing to sacrifice jobs and economic development for some perceived environmental legacy, it is time for unions to abandon the historic allegiance to the Democrat Party and realize that it is the Republicans who advocate for policies that protect the jobs in construction, manufacturing, mining, and energy—all well-paying positions that are often filled by union members.

It is time for capitalist, free-marketers to speak out.

It is time for trade unionists to speak out.

It is time for families, workers, and businesses to speak out.

It is time for the all of the energy producers—coal, natural gas, and oil—to speak out with one voice.

Because, if we don’t, there will be no one left to speak for us.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column.

Meanwhile … In Pennsylvania

 Fair Use Notice

This article appeared in the National Review Online

This story is refreshing AND perplexing. Not only because of the uncovered corruption during a lengthy investigation, but also due to the apparent ball-dropping by the Pennsylvania Attorney General(AG)  who inherited the case.  It appears the Philadelphia District Attorney is on the chase to require the AG to execute the duties she has sworn to uphold … regardless of party politics.

If you read the story you will be enthralled due to the particulars of the cases and the individual players.

Why did the AG drop a case that exposed Democratic corruption?

Philadelphia DA Seth Williams (left) has slammed Pa. AG Kathleen Kane
Text

John Fund

Prosecutors almost never go to war against each other. But in Pennsylvania, Democratic attorney general Kathleen Kane is being brutally criticized by Seth Williams, Philadelphia’s district attorney and a fellow Democrat. Williams is upset that last year one of Kane’s first acts in office was to decline to prosecute four Philadelphia state legislators and other government officials. In a sting operation, all had been caught accepting cash or Tiffany jewelry in exchange for votes or favors. Kane, who is white, has defended herself, saying that the investigation was badly managed and tainted by racism. She claims the criticism comes from what she calls the “Good Ol’ Boys Club.” Williams, who is African American, has shot back: “I have seen racism. I know what it looks like. This isn’t it.”

The sting operation followed pretty much the same playbook as the federal Abscam investigation of the 1970s. Begun in 2010, the Philly probe was conducted under Kane’s three immediate predecessors as attorney general, and it resulted in more than 400 hours of video and audio recordings. Tyron B. Ali, a lobbyist originally from Trinidad, served as the undercover agent; after he was charged with fraud, he agreed to wear a wire in exchange for lenient treatment. Word of his cash offers eventually got around and prompted some elected officials to call him first. “Sources with knowledge of the sting said the investigation made financial pitches to both Republicans and Democrats, but only Democrats accepted the payments,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported last week.

Attorney General Kane inherited the investigation when she took office in January 2013. She told the Inquirer that she stopped it without filing any charges because it was “poorly conceived, badly managed, and tainted by racism.” She quoted Claude Thomas, the chief investigator in the case, as saying he had been ordered to target “only members of the General Assembly’s Black Caucus” and to ignore “potentially illegal acts by white members.”

In response, Williams issued an angry statement and penned an op-ed in Sunday’s Inquirer. “The notion that they would target anyone based on race is ridiculous,” Williams said in a statement. “I am confident they are not racist, and it is regrettable that the attorney general would casually throw around such an explosive accusation.” Thomas, who is also African American, now works for Williams and denies he ever made such a statement.

What is clear is just how damning some of the collected evidence is. The Inquirer reported this exchange between Ali, the lobbyist, and state representative Vanessa Brown:

Ali went to Brown’s office and handed her an envelope with $2,000, according to people who have reviewed a transcript of a tape Ali made on that day.

As Brown accepted the money, they said, she put it in her purse and said: “Yo, good looking and Ooowee. . . . Thank you twice.”

After he gave Brown the money, Ali urged her to vote against a bill that would require voters to show identification at the polls, the sources said.

Kane’s supporters say that federal law-enforcement officials she consulted believed the probe had suffered from a lack of “quality control” and could be viewed as entrapment. “Is the acceptance of cash alarming? Absolutely,” one person close to Kane told the Inquirer. “But you’ve got to think: I’ve got to try this case.”

It certainly may have been politically awkward for Kane, as a Democrat, to prosecute only African-American defendants, but a conviction on something should have been a slam dunk. Even if prosecutors couldn’t prove a quid pro quo, it is illegal for politicians to accept payments to enrich themselves and also illegal not to report the income. Further, the prosecutors in this case have a sterling track record in securing convictions against the leadership of both parties in the legislature, winning 21 convictions in the 2010 “Bonusgate” scandal, which involved illegal payments to legislative staffers who performed political work. All of those convicted were white.

Kane has declined to answer detailed questions about why she dropped the investigation. Her critics, she says, are “playing political games to discredit me in order to fulfill their own selfish and improper agenda.” When she met with Inquirer editors last Thursday, she brought her personal attorney and on his advice declined to answer any questions after the meeting. Her attorney says she may file a defamation suit against the paper, a ploy frequently used by public figures to intimidate journalists.

Williams says he is tired of Kane’s “escalating excuses.” He points out that when she took office, the files on the probe were with federal prosecutors who hadn’t yet concluded whether they wanted to pursue their own case. “All she had to do was leave the investigation in the hands of federal authorities,” Williams wrote in Sunday’s Inquirer. “But she didn’t do that. Instead, she asked for the files back. And then, after going out of the way to reclaim the investigation, she shut it down.”

One bit player in the drama, who had dealings with Ali and was shocked to learn later that Ali was a government agent, says the whole thing reminds him of a John Grisham novel. My vote is for House of Cards. And from what we know so far, it shouldn’t be too hard to start matching up some of the Philadelphia players with their dramatic counterparts in the Netflix series.

— John Fund is a national-affairs columnist for National Review Online.

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Abortion: Murder Completed In The Killing Rooms

We have posted in the past about “Dr.” Kermit Gosnell click here a former abortion factory owner and truly evil operator inside the factory. We told you the conditions at the abortion factory were reported as atrocious and the factory operated outside what is allowed by Pennsylvania law.

A monument dedicated to the unborn victims of ...

A monument dedicated to the unborn victims of abortion. This monument is next to the Church of Ste. Geneviève in Ste. Geneviève, Missouri. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The bad doctor is now on trail and much more has been revealed by expert testimony, testimony of employees,  women victims and relatives of victims.  We are posting a link to an article from CNS News about the ongoing trial.  Please accept our warning informing that the narrative and images are graphic and might not be suitable for minors.  We hope the article will strengthen your resolve to fight against abortion and if you do not have the belief abortion is wrong, we pray the story will remove the scales from your eyes.

Sad Stories About Bad People

Marita Noon Reveals: EPA Throws Water On Fracktivists

Even the EPA is right now and then

Marita Noon

“Even a broken clock is right twice a day” is an adage we’ve all heard dozens of times. Today, it applies to the EPAas even it gets things right now and then.The EPA is well known for its attacks on virtually every kind of industry that might result in economic development–hitting the energy sector particularly hard. Despite the agency’s best efforts, it has not been able to match up the science with its desired claims of water contamination from natural gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing–which has been in use in America for more than 60 years.

In early December 2011, the New York Times ran a story declaring: “Chemicals used to hydraulically fracture rocks in drilling for natural gas in a remote valley in central Wyoming are the likely cause of contaminated local water supplies.” Environmental groups jumped all over the announcement. Amy Mall, a fracking opponent with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the report “underscores the urgent need to get federal rules and safeguards on the books to help protect all Americans from the dangers of fracking.” An NPR story on the EPA’s draft study released on December 8, 2011, stated: “The gas industry and other experts have long contended that fracking doesn’t contaminate drinking water. The EPA’s findings provide the first official confirmation to the contrary.”

However, just three months later, on March 8, it was announced that the EPA had to backtrack as frequent attacks forced the agency to acknowledge that it had rushed to judgment. The chemicals supposedly found in the drinking water of Pavilion, Wyoming, were chemicals that could have come from a variety of sources–including the plastic piping. The EPA released the data and findings outside of the purview of two “working groups” made up of state and EPA officials, which had been examining the Pavillion pollution for the better part of a year. Following accusations that the EPA rushed the release of the report without peer review, the EPA backed down and agreed to retest. Now, the EPA and Wyoming, as well as U.S. Geological Survey and two American Indian tribes, are working together on further study of the Pavillion groundwater.

On April 1, a lawsuit the EPA had filed earlier this year against a Texas energy company, Range Resources, accusing it of contaminating water through hydraulic fracturing, was quietly dropped. Barry Smitherman, Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, the agency that oversees oil and gas development, responded: “By dropping their court case and enforcement actions, EPA now acknowledges what we at the Railroad Commission have known for more than a year: Range Resources’ Parker County gas wells did not contaminate groundwater. This announcement is a vindication of the science-based processes at the Railroad Commission.”

On April 7, 2011, the EPA released test results for Dimock, Pennsylvania, that “did not show levels of contaminants that would give EPA reason to take immediate action.” Despite the EPA’s test results, Water Defense executive director Claire Sandberg claimed that the “EPA’s test results continue to show what Dimock residents have claimed for years: the water is contaminated.”

Dimock became the “symbol of possible threats to water from hydraulic fracturing” through the anti-fracking movie Gasland. While testing was being done, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., the company drilling in the area, had, beginning in 2009, been providing families with fresh water, installed water filters, and offered to pay each affected family twice the value of their home. According to Bloomberg, “The Houston-based company set aside $4.1 million to pay claims stemming from residents’ complaints.” After its testing found the water to be safe and state regulators agreed, Cabot discontinued the fresh water deliveries late last year. However, the EPA stepped in and continued delivering water.

A few days ago, “after months of back-and-forth wrangling,” the EPA finally cleared Dimock’s water and announced it would discontinue the water deliveries saying that it has “no further plans to conduct additional drinking water sampling in Dimock.” The EPA acknowledged that the substances found in the water were “naturally occurring.”

Thursday’s announcement was a victory for proponents of oil and gas drilling, the economic development that comes with it, and the energy independence it gives to America.

Cabot company spokesman George Stark emphasized: “Cabot’s operations in Dimock have led to significant economic growth in the area, marked by a collaborative relationship with the local community.”

One oil and gas official heralded the decision, but called the EPA’s approach part of a “pattern of overreaching, aimed at undercutting job-creating American energy development.”

While the decision, as Marcellus Shale Coalition president Kathryn Klaber stated, provides “closure to the situation,” self-described “fracktivists” gathered on Saturday in Washington D.C. for a “Stop the Frack Attack” rally–billed as the first-ever national protest to stop hydraulic fracturing. Despite their claim that thousands of people would descend on the west lawn of the Capitol building, live video of the event showed that, perhaps, the EPA’s decision took some of the wind out of their sails as a sparse crowd listened to speakers spread fear over “dirty water” and rising global temperatures.

The EPA has had to retreat in these three widely-publicized cases: Wyoming/Encana, Texas/Range Resources, and now, Pennsylvania/Cabot Oil and Gas. What remains to be seen is how the decisions will impact America’s job-creating domestic energy development. Will our energy policy be dominated by the emotion and ideology of “fracktivists” carrying signs such as those seen at the “Stop the Frack Attack” rally: “Stop feeding us bull**** and making us drink gas” or will it be determined by facts and sound science?

Thousands of jobs and billions in economic development are waiting in states such as New York, Ohio, Colorado, and Kentucky–and others with new resource discovery. Supporters of America’s job-creating domestic energy development don’t want to eliminate all regulations, but they need to be reasonable–encouraging responsible resource extraction, not so strident that they stifle progress and kill jobs.

The Dimock decision proves that the efforts of the “fracktivists” are more about a political anti-energy agenda than doing what is best for America.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

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On Taxpayer Paid Abortions — Not So Fast

 

Anti-abortion demonstration "Each life ma...

Image via Wikipedia

 

By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 – 2010)

Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone

We often rely on FactCheck.org to verify, find false or judge misleading statements and stories found on the internet.  We posted an article yesterday which gave some credence to allegations that ObamaCare was to pay for abortions.  The allegations surfaced when in spite of what is in the ObanaCare bill, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Maryland reportedly started to implement a “high-risk” abortion pool that would have abortions in those states being paid for in part, by the federal government.  When pro-life and anti-abortion supporters found out about the intent they raised a certain amount of dust.  They started a campaign to publicize the Pennsylvania and New Mexico efforts and their campaign is what eventually caught the attention of FactCheck.org.  With rumors flying from blog to blog and from television to print media, FactCheck set out to, what else … find the facts.  This is some of what I found at one of their accounts on the subject posted on July 22, 2010:

The claim that the new federal health care law will use taxpayer funds to pay for abortions through “high-risk pools” originated when the National Right to Life Committee issued a press release July 13. It said that Washington had approved a new insurance program that “will cover any abortion that is legal in Pennsylvania.” Abortion foes also raised alarms about similar federally subsidized insurance pools being put together in New Mexico and Maryland.

FactCheck indicates that there might have been good cause to spread the alarm because of programs attempted by Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Maryland.

At issue here are insurance policies to be made available under a newly launched, federally funded program that provides coverage for high-risk uninsured people who have been turned away by private carriers.

We can see what caused abortion opponents to be concerned. An official solicitation issued by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department specified that abortions “will” be covered if they are legal under Pennsylvania law. And according to newsreports, a similar document in New Mexico listed “elective” abortions under “covered services.”

Perhaps those three states did not get the “memo” or they just tried to do whatever they desired.  In any case, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS)  and two of the states decided to issues press releases denying that abortions which were prohibited under ObamaCare, would not be performed:

State and federal officials have since scrambled to clarify their intentions. Pennsylvania officials issued a statement on July 15 saying that for any abortions performed because of reasons other than rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s life, women “will have to pay for them out their own pocket.” And New Mexico backed down just as quickly, issuing a July 15 statement saying “elective abortion is not and has never been intended to be a benefit.

But that came only after federal officials — who control the money and write the regulations for the high-risk pools — stated on July 14 that no state policy would cover abortions except “in the cases of rape or incest, or where the life of the woman would be endangered.” Those are the only exceptions allowed by long-standing federal laws that broadly ban abortion coverage under the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) plans covering federal workers and their families, and under most state-federal Medicaid programs.

FactCheck reported that abortion foes, according to  other media sources and press releases, were able to claim a victory with this issue:

In reporting on the HHS statement, the Associated Press wrote: “Abortion foes have scored a victory.” The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement welcoming the policy.

USCCB: We welcome this new policy, while continuing to be gravely concerned that it was not issued until after some states had announced that pro-abortion health plans were approved.

Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, who first raised the alarm over the Pennsylvania solicitation, cautiously approved the HHS statement. In a July 22 e-mail to FactCheck.org, he said:

NRLC’s Johnson: If HHS actually does what they say they will do, in the July 14 statement, then that would resolve the issue for this one component of the health care law — unless the courts get involved, which is certainly possible, since the statute does not dictate an abortion policy on this program.

Pro-Choice advocates hammered the HHS action, although ObamaCare supported the HHS position as it was finally disseminated.  NARAL Pro-Choice America and the American Civil Liberties Union each released statements criticizing the move by HSS.

You can find more analysis and comment by FactCheck.org by clicking here.  Here’s hoping that HSS and the many states do not attempt to sneak abortion coverage that is not contemplated, i.e., allowed into any of their programs.

Unless we have missed something in our search efforts, the FactCheck treatment  seems  current on the subject.  If any reader has contrary facts or any information which tends to show “they” are at it again, please feel free to place it as a comment.