Archive for March 5th, 2014

The Pronk Pops Show 223, March 6, 2014, Story 3: Diplomatic Agreement — The Budapest Memorandum — Will It Lead To US War With Russia Over Ukraine or More Obama Appeasement? — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 202: January 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 201: January 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 199: January 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 198: January 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 193: January 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 188: January 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 187: January 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 183: December 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 182: December 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 181: December 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 177: December 2, 2013

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

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Story 3: Diplomatic Agreement — The Budapest Memorandum — Will It Lead To US War With Russia Over Ukraine or More Obama Appeasement? — Videos

Donald Rumsfeld on Russia, Ukraine, Obama !

Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine (Dispatch Two)

Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine (Dispatch One)

Russia fires first shots of Crimea invasion – Ukraine update – Truthloader

The Alex Jones Show(VIDEO Commercial Free) Sunday March 2 2014: Ukraine Mobilizes For War

Headlines: Hillary Clinton compares Russia’s actions in Ukraine to Nazi Germany

Obama: ‘Russia on the Wrong Side of History’

WW3 UPDATE: Ukrainian FORCES MOBILISING As RUSSIA Approves MILITARY ACTION In Ukraine

Russia Expands Its Natural Gas Infrastructure (Agenda)

Videographic: Sidestepping Russia’s gas monopoly

Ukrainian Protests and Russian Influence (Dispatch)

Crimea in the middlegaspipelines

Story 3: Diplomatic Agreement — The Budapest Memorandum — Will It Lead To US War With Russia Over Ukraine or More Obama Appeasement? — Videos

On 1 March 2014, the White House released a press release stating that Russia had breached its obligations to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum:

President Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and which is inconsistent with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the Helsinki Final Act. The United States condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.

—Office of the Press Secretary

Budapest Memorandums on Security Assurances, 1994

Published December 5, 1994

The Presidents of Ukraine, Russian Federation and United States of America, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom signed three memorandums (UN Document A/49/765) on December 5, 1994, with the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Through this agreement, these countries (later to include China and France in individual statements) gave national security assurances to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The Joint Declaration by the Russian Federation and the United States of America of December 4, 2009 confirmed their commitment.

Excerpt:

“Welcoming the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear-weapon State,

Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a specified period of time,

Noting the changes in the world-wide security situation, including the end of the cold war, which have brought about conditions for deep reductions in nuclear forces,

Confirm the following:

1. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine;

2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or

political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

3. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind;

4. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear

weapons are used;

5. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm, in the case of Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclearweapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,

except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State;

6. Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America will consult in the event a situation arises that raises a question concerning these commitments.

This Memorandum will become applicable upon signature.

Signed in four copies having equal validity in the Ukrainian, English and Russian languages.

For Ukraine:

(Signed) Leonid D. KUCHMA

For the Russian Federation:

(Signed) Boris N. YELTSIN

For the United Kingdom of Great

Britain and Northern Ireland:

(Signed) John MAJOR

For the United States of America:

(Signed) William J. CLINTON

U.S./U.K./Ukraine Press Statement on the Budapest Memorandum Meeting

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 5, 2014

On 5 March 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted a meeting in Paris with the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, William Hague, and the Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Andriy Deshchytsia.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the urgent question of the Budapest Memorandum, the agreement signed by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Russia in 1994. The United States had conveyed an invitation to the Russian Federation to the meeting. We deeply regret that the Russian Federation declined to attend.

The Budapest Memorandum sets out the obligations of signatories in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons. Under its terms, the three parties commit to refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The Memorandum also obliges the UK, US and Russia to consult in the event of a situation arising where the memorandum commitments are questioned.

Ukraine voluntarily surrendered the world’s third largest nuclear weapons arsenal in exchange for these assurances. The three Governments treat these assurances with utmost seriousness, and expect Russia to as well. Russia has chosen to act unilaterally and militarily. The United Kingdom and United States will continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and we commend the new Ukrainian government for not taking actions that might escalate the situation. Russia’s continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity can only degrade Russia’s international standing and lead to greater political and economic consequences.

In the meeting, the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Ukraine discussed steps needed to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and called on Russia to engage in consultations with Ukraine as they have committed to in the Budapest memorandum.

The United States, United Kingdom and Ukraine agreed that direct talks between Ukraine and Russia, facilitated as needed by members of the international community, are crucial to resolving the current situation. They also agreed that international observers should be deployed immediately in Ukraine, especially in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. The three governments reaffirmed the importance of protecting the rights of all Ukrainian citizens, and believed that international observers would help address any concerns regarding irregular forces, military activity and the treatment of all Ukrainians irrespective of their ethnicity or spoken language.

 http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/03/222949.htm

The Budapest Memorandum and Crimea

With tensions rising in Crimea and pro-Russian forces controlling the peninsula’s main airports, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has called on Russia to “not violate the Budapest Memorandum.” So what is the “Budapest Memorandum” and what does it have to do with Crimea?

What exactly is the “Budapest Memorandum”?

The “Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances” is a diplomatic memorandum that was signed in December 1994 by Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

It is not a formal treaty, but rather, a diplomatic document under which signatories made promises to each other as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Under the memorandum, Ukraine promised to remove all Soviet-era nuclear weapons from its territory, send them to disarmament facilities in Russia, and sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Ukraine kept these promises.

In return, Russia and the Western signatory countries essentially consecrated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as an independent state. They did so by applying the principles of territorial integrity and nonintervention in 1975 Helsinki Final Act — a Cold War-era treaty signed by 35 states including the Soviet Union — to an independent post-Soviet Ukraine.

Which principles in the Helsinki Final Act, reiterated in the “Budapest Memorandum,” are relevant to the current situation in the Crimea?

In the “Budapest Memorandum,” Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States promised that none of them would ever threaten or use force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine. They also pledged that none of them would ever use economic coercion to subordinate Ukraine to their own interest.

They specifically pledged they would refrain from making each other’s territory the object of military occupation or engage in other uses of force in violation of international law.

All sides agreed that no such occupation or acquisition will be recognized as legal and that the signatories would “consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments.”

Is there anything legally binding about the “Budapest Memorandum” regarding Russia’s obligations to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity?

“That’s actually a much more complex question than it may sound. It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,” says Barry Kellman, a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law.

“The ‘Budapest Memorandum’ follows the Helsinki Final Act and essentially reiterates its provisions. There are confidence building measures and then a host of other broader obligations – primarily negative obligations. Don’t interfere.”

Kellman concludes that there are a host of other sources of international law that oblige Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity — including the provisions of the CSCE treaty and the UN Charter.

http://www.voanews.com/content/the-budapest-memorandum-and-crimea/1862439.html

: The forgotten treaty which could drag the US and UK into WAR with Russia if Putin’s troops intervene in Ukraine

  • The agreement sees signatories promise to protect Ukraine’s borders
  • It was signed by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma in 1994
  • Ukrainian parliament has now reached out directly to all the countries who signed the treaty
  • Putin currently has 150,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders and it is reported some have crossed into the country
  • President Obama says he is ‘deeply concerned’ by the news
  • The US and Britain have both made ‘crisis calls’ to President Putin to warn him to respect territorial boundaries

By JILL REILLY and LIZZIE EDMONDS

A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if President Putin’s troops cross into the country.

Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine – agreed to the The Budapest Memorandum as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Technically it means that if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.

The revelation comes as reports suggest the Kremlin was moving up to 2,000 troops across the Black Sea from Novorossiysk to their fleet base at Sevastopol.

At least 20 men wearing the uniform of the Russian fleet and carrying automatic rifles surrounded a Ukrainian border guard post in a standoff near the port yesterday.

Last night it was still unclear the exact scale of Russian boots on the ground in Crimea or the identity of gunmen who have taken over airports in Simferopol and Sevastopol – though reports suggest they are Russian marines or Moscow- controlled militias.

The action came as President Obama delivered blunt warnings to Moscow.

‘We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine,’ he told reporters at the White House.

‘Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,’ he said in a brief appearance.

‘The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.’

U.S. officials also said the President could scrap plans to attend an international summit in Russia and take negotiations on deepening trade ties with the country off the table in response to Russian involvement in the Ukraine.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel added: “This could be a very dangerous situation if this continues in a provocative way.”

Asked about options in a CBS News interview, he said that “We’re trying to deal with a diplomatic focus, that’s the appropriate, responsible approach.”

Both the U.S. and the UK are advising against all non-essential trips to Ukraine – especially Crimea.

former British Ambassador to Moscow Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said in an interview that war could be an option 'if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.'

former British Ambassador to Moscow Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said in an interview that war could be an option ‘if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.’

NATO also asked Russia not to take action that could escalate tension. However Moscow responded by telling the organization to ‘refrain’ from provocative statements on Ukraine and respect its ‘non-bloc’ status.

Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said that war could be an option ‘if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.’

It promises to protect Ukraine’s borders, in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

Kiev has demanded the agreement is activated after insisting their borders had been violated.

In response Mr Brenton said in a BBC radio interview: ‘If indeed this is a Russian invasion of Crimea and if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding then it’s very difficult to avoid the conclusion that we’re going to go to war with Russia’.

Ukraine accused Russia of a ‘military invasion and occupation’, saying Russian troops have taken up positions around a coast guard base and two airports on its strategic Crimea peninsula.

Russia kept silent on the accusations, as the crisis deepened between two of Europe’s largest countries.

Any Russian military incursion in Crimea would dramatically raise the stakes in Ukraine’s conflict, which saw pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych flee last weekend after three months of anti-government protests. Yanukovych vowed Friday at a news conference in Russia to ‘keep fighting for the future of Ukraine,’ though he called any military action ‘unacceptable.’

Moscow has vowed to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Crimea, where it has a major naval base, and Ukraine and the West have warned Russia to stay away.

Russia did not confirm its troops were involved in Friday’s action in Crimea, which would be a major escalation.

In Kiev, Ukraine’s parliament adopted a resolution demanding that Russia halt steps it says are aimed against Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and called for a U.N. Security Council meeting on the crisis.

THE BUDAPEST REFERENDUM

Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances was a international treaty signed on February, 5, 1994, in Budapest.

The diplomatic document saw signatories make promises to each other as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

It was signed by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine.

The agreement promises to protest Ukraine’s borders in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

It is not a formal treaty, but rather, a diplomatic document.

It was an unprecedented case in contemporary international life and international law.

Whether is it legally binding in complex.

‘It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,’ says Barry Kellman is a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law told Radio Free Europe.

‘I can only describe this as a military invasion and occupation,’ Ukraine’s newly named interior minister, Arsen Avakov, wrote in a Facebook post.

The chief of Ukraine’s security council, Andriy Parubiy, seemed to strike a less strident tone later in the day, saying gunmen had tried to ‘seize’ the airports in the Crimean cities of Simferopol and Sevastopol but insisting in comments to the Interfax news agency that ‘de-facto the airports are controlled by the law enforcement bodies of Ukraine.’

Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service also said about 30 Russian marines from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet – which is based in Sevastopol – had taken up position outside the Ukrainian Coast Guard base in the area. It said the marines said they were there to prevent any weapons at the base from being seized by extremists.

Russia’s defense ministry had no comment.

Yanukovych made his first public appearance since fleeing Ukraine in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, not far from the Ukrainian border. It was the first confirmation that he had left the country, and he said he was ‘forced’ to do so only after his family received threats.

‘I intend to keep fighting for the future of Ukraine,’ he said.

Yanukovych said he supports Crimea’s residents who are worried about ‘nationalists’ in Kiev and added that Russia cannot stand by while events in Ukraine unfold. He denied, however, that this amounts to a call for military intervention.

‘Any military action in this situation is unacceptable,’ he said. 

Tensions rising: A Russian soldier on an armoured personnel carrier halted on a road in Ukraine around 20 miles from Sebastapol, where there is a large Russian military presence

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Tensions rising: A Russian soldier on an armoured personnel carrier halted on a road in Ukraine around 20 miles from Sebastapol, where there is a large Russian military presence

The prosecutor-general’s office in Kiev said it would seek Yanukovych’s extradition to Ukraine, where he is wanted on suspicion of mass murder in last week’s violent clashes between protesters and police, during which over 80 people were killed.

At the airport serving Simferopol, commercial flights were landing and taking off despite dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings patrolling with assault rifles. They didn’t stop or search people leaving or entering the airport, and refused to talk to journalists.

One man who identified himself only as Vladimir said the men were part of the Crimean People’s Brigade, which he described as a self-defense unit ensuring that no ‘radicals and fascists’ arrive from other parts of Ukraine. There was no way to verify his account.

The airport deployments came a day after masked gunmen with rocket-propelled grenades and sniper rifles seized the parliament and government offices in Simferopol and raised the Russian flag. Ukrainian police cordoned off the area but didn’t confront the gunmen. They remained in control of the buildings Friday.

The Russian foreign and defense ministries had no comment. Russia’s state RIA Novosti and Interfax cited an unnamed official from the Russian Black Sea Fleet denying involvement, saying Russian servicemen stationed in Crimea have not moved into the airports and denying that the Russian military was in control there.

Tensions between the two countries were high, however. Russia continued with massive combat readiness exercises involving most of its troops in western and southern Russia that it said were unrelated to the Ukraine conflict. The moves were reminiscent of Cold War brinksmanship.

Russian military forces are blockading an airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, an act Ukraine's new interior minister has announced branded an 'armed invasion'

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Russian military forces are blockading an airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, an act Ukraine’s new interior minister has announced branded an ‘armed invasion’

As events in the Crimea region heighten tensions with neighboring Russia, this morning armed men also took over the other main Crimean airport, Simferopol, according to a Facebook post by Mr Avakov

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As events in the Crimea region heighten tensions with neighboring Russia, this morning armed men also took over the other main Crimean airport, Simferopol, according to a Facebook post by Mr Avakov

Dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings were seen patrolling the airport in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea

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Dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings were seen patrolling the airport in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea

The move came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told Ukraine's new prime minister that the U.S. welcomes the formation of the country's new government

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The move came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told Ukraine’s new prime minister that the U.S. welcomes the formation of the country’s new government

The Kremlin, in a statement published late Thursday, said President Vladimir Putin had instructed the government to ‘maintain contacts with the counterparts in Kiev in what concerns trade and economic ties between Russia and Ukraine.’

Moscow has been sending mixed signals about Ukraine but pledged to respect its territorial integrity. Putin has long dreamed of pulling Ukraine, a country of 46 million people considered the cradle of Russian civilization, closer into Moscow’s orbit.

Meanwhile, Swiss prosecutors announced they had launched a criminal investigation against Yanukovych and his son Aleksander over ‘aggravated money laundering.’

They said police and Geneva’s chief prosecutor conducted a search and seized documents Thursday at the premises of a company owned by Aleksander Yanukovych.

Ukraine's ex-President Yanukovych has made his first public appearance since being ousted, telling a news conference that he was going to fight for his country's future

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Ukraine’s ex-President Yanukovych has made his first public appearance since being ousted, telling a news conference that he was going to fight for his country’s future

Switzerland and Austria both said they would freeze any assets Yanukovych and his entourage might have in those countries.

Ukraine’s population is divided in loyalties between Russia and the West, with much of western Ukraine advocating closer ties with the European Union while eastern and southern regions look to Russia for support.

Crimea, a southeastern peninsula of Ukraine that has semi-autonomous status, was seized by Russian forces in the 18th century under Catherine the Great, and was once the crown jewel in Russian and then Soviet empires.

It became part of Ukraine in 1954 when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred jurisdiction from Russia, a move that was a mere formality until the 1991 Soviet collapse meant Crimea landed in an independent Ukraine.

In a bid to shore up Ukraine’s fledgling administration, the International Monetary Fund has said it is ‘ready to respond’ to Ukraine’s bid for financial assistance; Ukraine’s finance ministry has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years to avoid default.

The European Union is also considering emergency loans for a country that is the chief conduit of Russian natural gas to western Europe.

And Putin, in his statement, asked his government to ‘hold consultations with foreign partners including the IMF and the G8 nations to provide financial aid to Ukraine.’

Associated Press journalists approaching the Sevastopol airport found the road leading up to it blocked by two military trucks and a handful of gunmen wearing camouflage uniforms and carrying assault rifles.

A car with Russian military plates was stopped at the roadblock. A man wearing a military uniform with a Russian flag on his sleeve got out of the car and was allowed to enter on foot after a brief discussion with the gunmen.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2570335/Former-British-Ambassador-Moscow-warns-Russia-invaded-Ukraine-difficult-avoid-going-war.html

Fact Check: Could a Little-Known International Agreement With Ukraine Force U.S., Britain Into War With Russia?

The United States and Britain “reaffirmed” their commitment to protect Ukraine’s borders in exchange for the nation giving up its nuclear weapons in a little-known agreement known as the “Budapest Memorandum signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1994.

The Daily Mail notes reports “if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.”

Sir Tony Brenton, who served as a British ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said war is certainly on the table if it’s determined that the Budapest Memorandum is “legally binding.”

According to the Daily Mail, Kiev has asked that the agreement be honored as it claims its borders have been violated.

“If indeed this is a Russian invasion of Crimea and if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding then it’s very difficult to avoid the conclusion that we’re going to go to war with Russia,” Brenton told BBC radio.

Ukraine has accused Russia of a “military invasion,” though details are still coming in.

The unsettling news comes after President Barack Obama warned Russia about military action in Ukraine on Friday.

But a closer look at the Budapest Memorandum shows the specifics might be more complex than some are assuming. Article one of the agreement states:

The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine … to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.

Reaffirming a “commitment” to Ukraine’s borders and being legally required to go to war are two very different ideas.

There will surely be much debate over whether the Budapest Memorandum is a legally binding agreement requiring action. The U.S. going to war with Russia is likely a last resort for the Obama administration.

According to rferl.org, the Budapest Memorandum is a diplomatic memorandum, not an official treaty.

Barry Kellman, a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law, told the website that the answers to questions about whether the agreement is binding are “complex.”

“That’s actually a much more complex question than it may sound. It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,” he said.

“The ‘Budapest Memorandum’ follows the Helsinki Final Act and essentially reiterates its provisions. There are confidence building measures and then a host of other broader obligations – primarily negative obligations. Don’t interfere,” the professor added.

Armed men described as Russian troops took control of key airports in Crimea on Friday and Russian transport planes flew into the strategic region, Ukrainian officials said, an ominous sign of the Kremlin’s iron hand in Ukraine. President Barack Obama bluntly warned Moscow “there will be costs” if it intervenes militarily.

The sudden arrival of men in military uniforms patrolling key strategic facilities prompted Ukraine to accuse Russia of a “military invasion and occupation” – a claim that brought an alarming new dimension to the crisis.

Unidentified armed men patrol outside of Simferopol airport, on February 28, 2014. Ukraine accused today Russia of staging an 'armed invasion' of Crimea and appealed to the West to guarantee its territorial integrity after pro-Moscow gunmen took control of the peninsula's main airport. (Source: AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEV VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Unidentified armed men patrol outside of Simferopol airport, on February 28, 2014. Ukraine accused today Russia of staging an ‘armed invasion’ of Crimea and appealed to the West to guarantee its territorial integrity after pro-Moscow gunmen took control of the peninsula’s main airport. (Source: AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEV VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama urged Russia to respect the independence and territory of Ukraine and not try to take advantage of its neighbor, which is undergoing political upheaval.

“Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,” Obama said.

“Just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, that would invite the condemnation of nations around the world,” he continued. “The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”

He did not say what those costs might be.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/02/28/fact-check-could-a-little-known-international-agreement-force-u-s-britain-into-war-with-russia/#

Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances

The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances is an international treaty signed on 5 December 1994, providing security assurances by its signatories relating to Ukraine‘s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Memorandum was originally signed by three nuclear-powers, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom. China and France later gave individual statements of assurance as well.[1][clarification needed]

The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine as well as those of Belarus and Kazakhstan. As a result Ukraine gave up the world’s third largest nuclear weapons stockpile between 1994 and 1996.[2][3]

Following the 2014 Crimean crisis, the US stated that Russian involvement is in breach of its obligations to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum, and in clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.[4][5]


According to the memorandum, Russia, the US, and the UK confirmed, in recognition of Ukraine becoming party to the 
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in effect abandoning its nuclear arsenal to Russia, that they would:

  1. Respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders.
  2. Refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine.
  3. Refrain from using economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its politics.
  4. Seek United Nations Security Council action if nuclear weapons are used against Ukraine.
  5. Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Ukraine.
  6. Consult with one another if questions arise regarding these commitments.[6]

Analyse

Under the treaty, the signatories offered Ukraine “security assurances” in exchange for its adhesion to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The memorandum bundled together a set of assurances that Ukraine already held from the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Final Act, United Nations Charter and Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Ukrainian government nevertheless found it politically valuable to have these assurances in a Ukraine-specific document. [7] [8]

The Budapest Memorandum was negotiated as a political agreement. It refers to assurances, not defined, but less than a military guarantee of intervention. According to Stephen MacFarlane, a professor of international relations “It gives signatories justification if they take action, but it does not force anyone to act in Ukraine.”[7][8]

Issues

Tuzla Island crisis

Main article: Tuzla Island

Ukraine gave up the world’s third largest nuclear weapons stockpile between 1994 and 1996 in return for “security assurances” from five nuclear powers, including Russia who was seen by Ukraine as the main threat to its territorial integrity.[2] In 2003, Russian construction efforts were seen as an attempt to annex Tuzla Island off the Crimean coast of Ukraine.[2] The Russian threat to Tuzla led to the Ukrainian leadership appealing to NATO for consultations on security, as outlined in the 1997 NATO-Ukraine Charter, without result.[2] The dispute led to negotiations over delimitation of the maritime borders. In a 2012 preliminary agreement, Ukraine and Russia agreed that Tuzla Island would be considered Ukraine’s territory.[9][needs update]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia after hosting the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial on the Ukraine crisis in Paris, France, on March 5, 2014.

2014 Crimean crisis

Main article: 2014 Crimean crisis

In February 2014, unidentified troops seized or blockaded various airports, as well as other strategic sites throughout Crimea.[10] Official Ukrainian sources have said that the troops are Russian, attached to the Russian Black Sea Fleet stationed in Crimea,[11] likely placing Russia in violation of the Budapest Memorandum. The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed the movement of armoured units attached to the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, but asserts that they are acting within the scope of the various agreements between the two countries. Other official Russian sources deny that the units in the area of Sevastopol International Airport, specifically, are attached to the Black Sea Fleet.[12]

On 1 March 2014, the White House released a press release stating that Russia had breached its obligations to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum:

President Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and which is inconsistent with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the Helsinki Final Act. The United States condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.

—Office of the Press Secretary[4]

[5]

In response to the crisis, the Ukrainian parliament has requested that the Memorandum’s signatories reaffirm their commitment to the principles enshrined in the treaty, and further asked that they hold consultations with Ukraine to ease tensions.[13]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “Budapest Memorandums on Security Assurances, 1994”. Council on Foreign Relations. December 5, 1994. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d The Crimea:Europe’s Next Flashpoint, By Taras Kuzio, November 2010
  3. Jump up^ [1]
  4. Jump up to:a b Office of the Press Secretary. “Readout of President Obama’s Call with President Putin”. whitehouse.gov.
  5. Jump up to:a b Washington Post Editorial Board. “Condemnation isn’t enough for Russian actions in Crimea”. Washington Post.
  6. Jump up^ Memorandum on Security Assurances [2]
  7. Jump up to:a b Are the US and the UK bound to intervene in Ukraine?france24, 03-03-2014
  8. Jump up to:a b Ukraine crisis’ impact on nuclear weapons, 4-March-2014
  9. Jump up^ http://en.ria.ru/russia/20120713/174576071.html
  10. Jump up^ Higgins, Andrew; Reevell, Patrick (28 February 2014). “Armed, masked men appear at airports in Crimea”The Boston Globe. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Booth, William; DeYoung, Karen (28 February 2014). “Reports of Russian military activity in Crimea prompts stern warning from Obama”The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  12. Jump up^ “Movement of Russian armored vehicles in Crimea fully complies with agreements – Foreign Ministry”. RT. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  13. Jump up^ “Ukrainian parliament appeals to Budapest Memorandum signatories”. Interfax Ukraine. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.

External links

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 1 of 4. From Rus to Ukraine

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 2 of 4. Ukraine or Little Russia?

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 3 of 4. Together Forever

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 4 of 4. Independence

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The Pronk Pops Show 223, March 6, 2014, Story 2: Labor Force Participation in 2013 Lowest in 35 Years — 63.2% — Videos

Posted on March 5, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Constitutional Law, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, History, Labor Economics, Law, Media, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Politics, Security, Tax Policy, Unemployment, Videos, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 202: January 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 201: January 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 199: January 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 198: January 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 193: January 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 188: January 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 187: January 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 183: December 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 182: December 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 181: December 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 177: December 2, 2013

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 222-223

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 211-221

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Story 2: Labor Force Participation in 2013 Lowest in 35 Years — 63.2% — Videos

U.S. Labor Participation Rate – Graph of Reagan vs obama

Labor Force Participation Rate

Labor Force Participation in 2013 Lowest in 35 Years

March 3, 2014 – 4:20 PM

By Ali Meyer

(CNSNews.com) – The average annual labor force participation rate hit a 35-year-low of 63.2 percent in the United States in 2013, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).The last time the average annual labor force participation rate was that low was in in 1978, when it was also 63.2 percent. Jimmy Carter was president then.

The BLS bases its employment statistics on the civilian noninstitutional population, which consists of all people in the United States 16 or older who are not on active duty in the military or in an institution such as a prison, nursing home or mental hospital.  The labor force participation rate is the percentage of people in the civilian noninstitutional population who either had a job or who actively sought one in the previous four weeks.

Labor Force Participation in 2013 Lowest in 35 Years

The 63.2 percent average annual labor force participation rate for 2013 means that in the average month of 2013 only 63.2 percent of the civilian noninstitutional population held a job or actively sought one.

The BLS has been tracking the labor force participation rate since 1947, when it was 58.3 percent. Over five decades, it climbed to a peak of 67.1 percent in 1997–a rate it maintained in 1998, 1999, and 2000.

As the civilian noninstitutional population has increased and the labor force participation rate has dropped, the number of people not in the labor force has climbed to record highs. In 2000, there was an annual average of 69,994,000 Americans not in the labor force. By 2013, there was an annual average of 90,290,000 not in the labor force.

In January 2014, according to BLS, there were 92,535,000 not in the labor force.

labor force

Unemployed people, as calculated by BLS, are people who participated in the labor force by actively looking for a job, but did not find one. The unemployment rate is the percentage of the people in the labor force who are “unemployed.”

In 2013, according to BLS, there was an annual average of 245,679,000 in the civilian noninstitutional population. On average, 155,389,000 (or 63.2 percent) of those people participated in the labor force. Another 90,290,000 (or 36.8 percent) of them did not have a job or actively seek one–and, thus, were not in the labor force.

Of the 155,389,000 in the labor force, 143,929,000 had jobs, and 11,460,000 (or 7.4 percent) actively sought jobs and did not find them, making them unemployed.

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

– See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/labor-force-participation-2013-lowest-35-years#sthash.A32ZfyjS.dpuf

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The Pronk Pops Show 223, March 6, 2014, Story 1: President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Arrives At Congress — Spending Surge DOA (Dead on Arrival) — Videos

Posted on March 5, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Constitutional Law, Economics, Education, Employment, European History, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government Dependency, Highway, History, Law, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Photos, Security, Success, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Transportation, Unemployment, United States Constitution, Videos, Wealth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 202: January 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 201: January 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 199: January 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 198: January 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 193: January 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 188: January 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 187: January 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 183: December 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 182: December 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 181: December 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 177: December 2, 2013

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 222-223

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 211-221

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or DownloadShow 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 93

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 92

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 91

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 84-87

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 71-73

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 68-70

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

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 Story 1: President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Arrives At Congress — Spending Surge DOA (Dead on Arrival) — Videos

gdp_large

Obama Unveils Budget; Republicans Dismiss It

President Obama’s 2015 Budget

Obama: 2015 Budget Adheres to Both Parties’ Wishes

2015 US budget stresses support for middle class

2015 Budget Arrives at Congress

Obama Proposes $1 Trillion Budget For Health & Human Services – Stuart Varney – America’s Newsroom

Senior Administration Officials Discuss the President’s FY 2015 Budget

President Obama on Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Plan

http://www.c-span.org/video/?318096-1/president-obama-fy-2015-budget

White House releases FY2015 budget readout — $2.7 trillion off from CBO projections

BY ED MORRISSEY

The first question to ask is, why bother? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Budget Committee chair Patty Murray have already decided not to produce a budget for FY2015, an announcement that got a bit lost in the Russian invasion of Crimea at the end of last week. Consider this an example of listbox-checking at the White House, and little more. OMB rolled out its eight-page brief this morning of the budget proposal called “Opportunity for All,” which will end up being just as stillborn as Barack Obama’s last four budget proposals.

A Roadmap for Growth, Opportunity, and Fiscal Responsibility: The President’s Budget provides a roadmap for accelerating economic growth, expanding opportunity for all Americans, and ensuring fiscal responsibility. It invests in infrastructure, job training, preschool, and pro-work tax cuts, while reducing deficits through health, tax, and immigration reform.

Builds on Bipartisan Progress: The Budget adheres to the 2015 spending levels agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act and shows the choices the President would make at those levels. But it also shows how to build on this progress to realize the nation’s full potential with a fully paid for $56 billion Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, split evenly between defense and non-defense priorities.

If this truly built on “bipartisan progress,” then Reid would rush it through the Senate to put pressure on House Republicans. Murray’s demurral tells us all we need to know about the White House’s “bipartisan” approach on budgeting. The tear sheet is basically a regurgitation of Obama’s continuing demands for “infrastructure” spending as “investments,” which the White House claims will reduce deficits, both in real terms and as a share of the GDP.

Pay attention to the lead set of bullet items, especially transportation:

Stronger Growth and Job Creation:
o Advanced manufacturing – Invests in American innovation and strengthens our manufacturing base, including a national network of 45 manufacturing institutes.
o Research and innovation – Supports ground-breaking research to fight disease, protect the environment, and develop new technologies, and makes permanent the R&D Tax Credit.
o Pro-growth infrastructure – Lays out an ambitious, four-year $302 billion surface transportation reauthorization proposal paid for with transition revenue from pro-growth business tax reform.
o Government reform – Promotes government management that delivers improved services that are more effective, efficient, and supportive of economic growth.

“Transition revenue from pro-growth business tax reform”? That would require the Senate to actually produce a business-tax reform, a possibility that the White House closed by making outgoing Senator Max Baucus the ambassador to China, even though he knew little about his assignment. Until then, he and Orrin Hatch had been working on the Finance Committee to produce an overhaul of the tax code for both businesses and individuals that would have made the US more competitive and tax planning more straightforward. His replacement, Ron Wyden, will have other priorities.

His colleague Barbara Boxer certainly does. The revenue for transportation spending will come from new or higher refinery taxes, Boxer told the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, since higher gas taxes are not politically possible and new mileage taxes are still a ways off. No matter what, though, Boxer pledged to get more funding, because Democrats won’t even consider looking for ways to spend less:

“I don’t see support for raising the gas tax and there is absolutely no way we’re going to cut spending, so it’s going to have to be a creative way to fund this in reality,” Boxer said.

“The administration, you are going to be hearing from them today, is that right? I think you’ll be excited at what they have done on this whole area of transportation,” Boxer told the annual AASHTO Washington Briefing. “They’re looking at tax reform which is certainly one way to make sure we have the funding for six years.”

The Federal Highway Administration has projected that the Highway Trust Fund, supplied by gasoline and diesel fuel taxes, will have to soon alter reimbursements to states for work due to a shortfall. The Congressional Budget Office predicts the Highway Trust Fund could run out of money by August.

Boxer says she’s supportive of new taxes for additional funding.

“Either we’re going to replace the gas tax with another way of funding which I love, which is the fee at the refinery level, I think I may be the only one that likes that idea, so I haven’t seen a groundswell of support for that idea.”

Note too the promise that government “reform” will generate more funds for Obama administration priorities. As far back as 2009, the White House has claimed that they couldn’t find any more spending to cut through reform. When did that change?

Readers probably didn’t need the Washington Post to tell them that Obama’s foreign policy comes from a rich fantasy life — and they won’t need the Post to tell them the same about his economic projections:

President Obama is just out with his newest budget request — which forecasts a dramatic reduction in deficits over the coming decade. The request paints a much rosier debt scenario than a report released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office a month ago. In his budget request, Obama projects public debt as a percentage of gross domestic project falling to 69 percent by 2024, while the CBO has it rising to 79 percent — a difference of 10 percentage points, or roughly $2.7 trillion.

This is largely because Obama assumes the passage of legislation that the CBO doesn’t, and he assumes those laws will generate far more revenue over the next decade. In 2024, the spending/revenue gap (i.e., the annual deficit) in Obama’s budget amounts to 1.6 percent of GDP. CBO’s projected deficit is more than twice that, at 4 percent of GDP.

A $2.7 trillion difference? That’s like an entire year of federal spending … or at least it was during the Bush administration and Republican control of Congress.

Obama budget seeks new spending, new taxes to boost economy, tame debt

President Obama unveiled an ambitious $3.9 trillion budget blueprint Tuesday that seeks billions of dollars in fresh spending to boost economic growth but also pledges to tame the national debt by raising taxes on the wealthy, slashing payments to health providers and overhauling the nation’s immigration laws.

The request sent to Congress for the 2015 fiscal year offers a smorgasbord of liberal policy ideas at a time when riling up the Democratic base and drawing a vivid contrast with Republicans are critical to Obama’s hopes of preserving his party’s imperiled majority in the Senate.

His blueprint includes some targeted spending cuts, but relies primarily on more than $1 trillion in new taxes to slow borrowing over the next decade – with much of the burden falling on major businesses and the wealthy. While some of the proceeds would go toward deficit reduction, Obama also calls for more than $55 billion in new spending on defense, roads and bridges, universal preschool education and expanded tax credits for the poor.

agencies-3

To achieve Obama’s agenda, however, Congress would have to approve his ideas — an unlikely prospect in an election year. While the budget opens the door to a few potential areas of bipartisan agreement – including an overhaul of business taxes that would generate cash for infrastructure – it retreats from other compromises.

For example, Obama does not propose using a less-generous measure of inflation to calculate Social Security benefits, a move that would significantly slow spending growth in the program. Obama included the proposal, known as the chained consumer price index, in last year’s budget in a failed bid to strike a grand bargain on the debt with Republicans.

“Our budget is about choices, it’s about our values,” Obama said during an appearance at Powell Elementary School in the District.  “As a country we’ve got to make a decision if we’re going to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans or if we’re going to make smart investments necessary to create jobs and grow our economy, and expand opportunity for every American.”

Republicans quickly rejected the president’s choices, however, complaining that his request would bust the caps on agency budgets that he and congressional Democrats had agreed to set in a compromise enacted barely three months ago.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) derided the request as “a clear sign this president has given up on any efforts to address our serious fiscal challenges that are undermining the future of our kids and grandkids.”

“After years of fiscal and economic mismanagement, the president has offered perhaps his most irresponsible budget yet,”  Boehner said in a statement. “Despite signing last year’s bipartisan budget deal – and touting it as an accomplishment – the president now proposes violating that agreement with a spending surge. What’s more, he proposes raising even more taxes – not to reduce the deficit but to spend more taxpayer money.”

Added House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.):  “This budget isn’t a serious document; it’s a campaign brochure.”

In his message to Congress, Obama argues that his policies have the deficit well in hand — and would improve the nation’s fiscal outlook in the years to come. His request proposes to reduce borrowing by an additional $1.4 trillion by 2024, building on $4 trillion in deficit-reduction enacted by Congress since the budget wars began three years ago.

As a result, the White House projects a deficit of $564 billion in 2015, or 3.1 percent of the economy, down from $649 billion this year and 3.1 percent of GDP. By 2024, Obama projects a deficit of just $434 billion, or 1.6 percent of the overall economy, the smallest deficit since 2007, before the Great Recession dealt a terrible blow to government finances.

A shrinking deficit would reduce borrowing, thereby allowing the overall debt to grow more slowly. The White House estimates that the debt would shrink to 69 percent of the economy by 2024, compared to 74.4 percent today.

Those projections are far rosier than those made recently by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Under current law, the CBO forecasts that the deficit will rise to 4 percent of GDP in 2024 and that the debt will grow to 79 percent of GDP.

rosy_budget_part_1

The Obama budget would build on a spending deal reached late last year between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the chairs of their respective chamber’s budget committees. Under the deal, which largely replaces the deep domestic and defense cuts known as sequestration for two years, agency spending levels are set through September 2015.

In his budget, Obama argues that the deal provides insufficient spending; he proposes $56 billion in additional funding to agencies, offset by $28 billion in alternative spending cuts and tax hikes.

The new spending, known as an Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative, will pump money into preschool programs, the National Institutes of Health, manufacturing institutes, climate research, job training and a new parental leave proposal, among other benefits for the middle class. Obama would also expand a tax credit for poor, working-class Americans valued at $60 billion over 10 years.

To pay for those initiatives, the president takes aim at a variety of tax breaks that benefit the wealthy – limiting the value of retirement savings accounts, a loophole known as “carried interest” that allows many private equity and hedge fund managers to reduce their tax burden, among others.

Reprising one tax proposal from last year that also hits middle class and lower income Americans, Obama proposes a new tax on tobacco to pay for the early-childhood initiative.

After 2015, Obama proposes to replace the remainder of sequestration with a combination of tax hikes as well as cuts in other mandatory spending programs, such as Medicare. Obama would seek, for example, to raise premiums for wealthy seniors and force drug companies to offer larger discounts on prescription drugs.

Like the CBO, the Obama administration does not paint an overly optimistic picture of economic growth over the next decade, with an average inflation-adjusted growth rate of just 2.6 percent per year over the next 10 years.

rosy_budget_part_2

Rather, the president sees a rosier budget picture due  primarily to his proposal to increase tax revenue. In 2024, Obama projects collecting about $500 billion more in taxes than would be the case under current law.

Breaking down spending in Obama’s budget proposal

President Obama released his budget proposal Tuesday morning. The circles show the amount requested and the color reflects the changes from last year’s discretionary funding levels for each department. This page will be updated with new information throughout the day. Read related article.

Defense

$495.6 billion in discretionary funds (0.1% less than last year)

The Pentagon’s budget for 2015 represents a major turning point for the military, which is moving from more than a decade of massive growth to a significantly smaller force that will be more dependent on technology. The Obama administration plans to spend $495.6 billion on defense in 2015 or about $113 billion less than had been expected in last year’s budget. The biggest savings will come from cuts to personnel, particularly in the Army, which will be gradually pared back to its smallest size in 74 years. The Pentagon also plans to rein in healthcare costs and cut some of its older weapons systems.

Health & Human Services

$73.7 billion in discretionary funds (7.6% less than last year)

The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed an $80.1 billion budget for the Health and Human Services department, representing a $3.9 billion increase over 2012 levels. The budget includes new funding for AIDS prevention, doctor training, family planning programs, food safety, Head Start and mental health services for young adults and families. It also includes money for new initiatives targeting antibiotic resistance.

But it does not include a major increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health, despite warnings from the agency’s director that it needs a significant infusion to remain on the cutting edge of research. And some of the increases are offset by cuts to block grant programs. In particular, the department saves $80 million by eliminating the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant program, which provides money to states to deal with leading causes of death and disability in those areas.The administration is seeking $4.7 billion for the Food and Drug Administration, which includes new spending to implement laws passed last year to improve food safety and the safety of custom-mixed drugs made by large specialty pharmacies.

The budget also continues to fund the president’s signature health-care law, which saw many of its key provisions implemented this year. It includes money to continue operating the state and federal health insurance marketplaces, as well as to provide subsidies to help low- and middle-income people pay for health insurance. Most Americans must carry health insurance starting this year, or they face a fine.

Education

$68.6 billion in discretionary funds (1.9% more than last year)

The White House budget proposal shows that the president wants to increase discretionary spending for the Department of Education by $1.3 billion to $68.6 billion. That’s in addition to $14.4 billion the federal government gives to states to help educate poor children and another $11.5 billion it provides for disabled students who require special education.

Obama is again seeking funding for his “Preschool for All” plan to expand early childhood education to most low and middle-income four-year-olds across the country – a 10-year, $76 billion program that would be funded with an increase in the federal tobacco tax.

Veterans Affairs

$65.3 billion in discretionary funds (3.0% more than last year)

The 2015 White House budget would provide $65.3 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The enacted 2014 federal budget gave $63.4 billion to the agency, which provides benefits to veterans and their families. The VA has accumulated a massive backlog of claims waiting to be processed, which they trimmed from 600,000 to 400,000 from March to November 2013. Obama announced that “slashing that backlog” was a White House priority in his 2014 State of the Union address, and his proposed 2015 budget includes a $138.7 million investment in the Veterans Claims Intake Program in an effort to reform and speed up the process.

The White House’s budget also proposes a $1.6 billion investment in helping homeless and at-risk veterans, including $500 million for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing, $321 million for a supportive housing program for veterans and $75 million for 10,000 new housing vouchers through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

2015 Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative

$55.4 billion in discretionary funds

The budget plan includes funds for investments in early-childhood education, more teachers in elementary school, clean-energy research, advanced manufacturing, federal employee training, government customer service.

State and Other International Programs

$42.6 billion in discretionary funds (0.2% less than last year)

The Obama administration is seeking $46.2 billion for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, just $1.6 billion less than it requested for fiscal 2014. The figure includes $5.9 billion for “overseas contingency operations,” which serves as the base budget for operations in Afghanistan. Under the budget proposal, $1.5 billion would be dedicated to address the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Syria and to “support transitions and reforms” in the Middle East and North Africa, regions still being reshaped more than three years after the start of the Arab Spring. The fiscal blueprint would invest $4.6 billion to secure diplomatic facilities overseas and would support additional security construction – efforts that were largely driven by the fallout from the 2012 attacks on the U.S. compounds in the Libyan city of Benghazi.

Homeland Security

$38.2 billion in discretionary funds (2.8% less than last year)

The department would receive $38.2 billion in non-disaster funding under President Obama’s budget proposal, which would reduce spending for the organization by nearly 3 percent compared to the 2014 enacted level but roughly the same as it was in 2013.

Obama’s fiscal plan calls for 4,000 additional Customs and Border Protection officers, as well as $549 million to protect federal computer networks from cybersecurity threats, $1 billion in assistance to state and local governments for firefighters and emergency-management personnel and $10 million to help immigrants on the path to citizenship.

Housing and Urban Development

$32.6 billion in discretionary funds (3.3% less than last year)

The president’s proposed budget includes $46.7 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, about $1.2 billion more than what Congress approved for fiscal 2014.

The administration proposed about $20 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher program. Those funds would restore cuts imposed on assisted housing units by the 2013 sequestration, and support all existing vouchers. Another $9.7 billion would go toward the Project-Based Rental Assistance Program, slightly less than the previously enacted level.

The president also requested $6.5 billion for preserving affordable public housing and $2.4 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, slightly more than the levels approved in fiscal 2014 in both cases.

Energy

$27.9 billion in discretionary funds (2.6% more than last year)

President Obama’s proposed budget asks for $27.9 billion in discretionary spending, a 2.6 percent increase, for the Energy Department, featuring boosts in spending on basic research and costs associated with maintaining the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

The administration is asking for $627 million in additional funds, a third more than the current fiscal year, for managing the nuclear stockpile. Overall the proposed budget includes $11.7 billion for nuclear security, a 4 percent increase over the 2014 enacted level.

Justice

$27.4 billion in discretionary funds (0.7% more than last year)

The Justice Department’s proposed $27.4 billion budget reflects Attorney General Eric H. Holder’s priority of criminal justice and prison reform. Holder’s budget–$122 million above the 2014 enacted lev­el–includes $173 million in targeted investments for criminal justice reform efforts.

The DOJ budget requests funding for Holder’s “Smart on Crime” initiative to reduce the number of low-level drug offenders in prison and reduce recidivism rates by expanding drug treatment programs. It requests $15 million for U.S. Attorneys, including prevention and reentry work and promoting alternatives to incarceration such as the establishment of drug courts and veteran courts. Another $15 million would go towards expanding the federal Residential Drug Abuse program and $14 million would assist inmates with reentering society and reducing the population of individuals who return to prison after being released. An additional $14 million would expand the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program at the state and local levels. The DOJ budget also requests $115 million for the Second Chance Act Grant program to reduce recidivism and help ex-offenders return to productive lives.

Agriculture

$22.2 billion in discretionary funds (7.9% less than last year)

The department would lose roughly $938 million this year under the president’s proposal, receiving $23.7 billion in discretionary funding. The administration is pressing for reduced crop insurance subsidies for farmers and insurance companies “to more reasonable levels,” changes that would save the government $14 billion over 10 years, the budget says.

Other Agencies

$19.2 billion in discretionary funds (2.7% more than last year)

National Aeronautics & Space Administration

$17.5 billion in discretionary funds (0.6% less than last year)

The administration is asking $17.5 billion for NASA, another tight budget for an agency that peaked at $18.7 billion in 2010. The 2015 request is down $185 million from the enacted 2013 budget. NASA can also tap $900 million in the administration’s Opportunity initiative if Congress provides the funding. NASA officials view this as a “continuity-driven” budget that will make almost all major programs go forward as planned.

Transportation

$14 billion in discretionary funds (2.2% more than last year)

The hub of the president’s budget proposal for transportation is a $302-billion, four-year surface transportation reauthorization. It emphasizes a fix-it-first approach that would give funding priority to salvaging existing roads, bridges and transit systems rather than expanding their network.

The administration wants to invest $1.25 billion a year in the popular TIGER grant program to states and cities. It would create a new $10-billion, four-year program to address freight transportation bottlenecks that experts say impede U.S. competition in the global economy. The White House plan would almost double funding — from $12.3 billion to $22.3 billion — for transit systems and intercity passenger rail.

Treasury

$12.4 billion in discretionary funds (1.6% less than last year)

The White House’s proposed 2015 budget would provide $13.8 billion to the Treasury Department, representing a downgrade of about 1.6 percent compared to the spending level for this year. Most of the funding, $12 billion, would go toward the Internal Revenue Service, boosting the agency’s budget by 6.3 percent compared to 2014. The proposals include $165 million for an initiative that partly aims to help IRS call centers boost their response rates from 60 to 80 percent, as well as $480 million to support additional tax enforcement and compliance functions.

The budget blueprint also calls for $1.5 billion to help spur lending for small businesses, $225 million for a fund to encourage job growth and healthier communities in underserved areas and plans for assessing the production and use of coins, including the penny.

Labor

$11.8 billion in discretionary funds (1.7% less than last year)

The administration’s proposed budget for the Department of Labor includes one of President Obama’s top priorities this year, a boost in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25, where it has been since 2009. The president recently raised the minimum wage for federal contractors by executive order; House Republicans oppose a broader increase.

The White House is seeking $11.8 billion in discretionary funding for the agency. The money would support new efforts to reach unemployed workers and recently separated veterans with in-person “reemployment” services; assist states in launching new paid leave programs for employees who need to take time off from work to care for a child or family member; and boost efforts to enforce laws that workers from being denied wages and overtime pay.

Interior

$11.5 billion in discretionary funds (unchanged from last year)

The Interior Department would get a 4 percent budget increase to $11.7 billion in fiscal 2015, its first full year under Secretary Sally Jewell, under the Obama administration’s budget proposal.

Some of that increase provides more money for ecological sustainability of waterways such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Everglades National Park, while there is no major increase for forest fire protection

Social Security Administration

$9.1 billion in discretionary funds (2.2% more than last year)

The White House budget increases spending to improve customer service through modernized online and in-person operations.

Commerce

$8.8 billion in discretionary funds (6.0% more than last year)

The White House is requesting a discretionary budget of $8.8 billion for the Department of Commerce, the federal agency charged with promoting economic growth, conducting the Census and issuing patents, among other responsibilities. The 2014 budget gave the department $8.3 billion for discretionary spending. The Obama administration’s budget would give $210 million to the Economic Development Administration, and $25 million to the Regional Innovation Strategies Program, both initiatives geared toward helping regional and small businesses – a group the president often gets slammed for ignoring.

Environmental Protection Agency

$7.9 billion in discretionary funds (3.7% less than last year)

President Obama on Thursday proposed a $7.9 billion fiscal 2015 budget for the Environmental Protection Agency, a spending plan that focuses on reducing carbon output from vehicles and power plants and preparing the country “for the unavoidable impacts of climate change.”

The proposal is a $300 million reduction from the EPA’s 2014 budget of $8.2 billion, though the plan would increase the agency’s funding in coming years. One major cut is $581 million from a fund that helps states build wastewater and drinking water projects.

National Science Foundation

$7.3 billion in discretionary funds (1.4% more than last year)

The plan includes a small increase in funding aimed at research to improve economic growth through advanced manufacturing and clean energy.

Corps of Engineers

$4.5 billion in discretionary funds (18.2% less than last year)

The budget blueprint would cut spending for the Army Corps of Engineers and focus on projects with an environmental return. It also proposes increased fees for use of inland waterways, and streamlined procedures so that state and local governments can do more waterway maintenance.

Corporation for National & Community Service

$1.1 billion in discretionary funds (unchanged from last year)

The proposal maintains funding for 114,000 AmeriCorps volunteers across the country and other projects.

Small Business Administration

$0.7 billion in discretionary funds (22.2% less than last year)

General Services Administration

$0.2 billion in discretionary funds (88.9% less than last year)

US Rep. Boehner, Rep. Ryan Heap Scorn On Obama’s FY2015 Budget

By John Shaw
–House Speaker Boehner, House Budget Chief Ryan Rip Into Obama Budget
–Rep. Boehner: President Offers His ‘Most Irresponsible Budget Yet’
–Rep. Ryan: Obama Offers ‘Campaign Brochure’ Not ‘Serious Document

WASHINGTON (MNI) – House Speaker John Boehner and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unleashed verbal haymakers at President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget, with both GOP leaders calling the plan a failure of fiscal stewardship.

In separate statements, both Boehner and Ryan had little good to say about the president’s budget.

“After years of fiscal and economic mismanagement, the president has offered perhaps his most irresponsible budget yet,” Boehner jabbed.

“American families looking for jobs and opportunity will find only more government in this plan. Spending too much, borrowing too much, and taxing too much, it would hurt our economy and cost jobs. And it offers no solutions to save the safety net and retirement security programs that are critical to millions of Americans but are also driving our fiscal imbalance,” the Speaker said.

He said that Obama’s budget never comes close to achieving balance. “In the president’s vision for our future, America’s budget never balances – ever. After dramatically expanding entitlement programs, the president now believes our entirely predictable long-term debt crisis is the next president’s problem,” he said.

Boehner also accuses Obama of violating the December budget agreement by pretending to accept the FY2015 discretionary spending limits, but then proposing an additional $56 billion in spending.

“This budget is a clear sign this president has given up on any efforts to address our serious fiscal challenges that are undermining the future of our kids and grandkids. In the coming weeks, Republicans will produce a responsible budget that balances, promotes opportunity, reforms our tax code, saves our critical safety net programs, and places a priority on creating jobs, not more government,” Boehner said.

Ryan also found few merits in Obama’s fiscal plan.

“This budget isn’t a serious document; it’s a campaign brochure. In divided government, we need leadership and collaboration. And in this budget, we have neither,” Ryan said.

He called Obama’s budget “yet another disappointment – because it reinforces the status quo,” adding it would “demand that families pay more so Washington can spend more. It would hollow out our defense capabilities. And it would do nothing to preserve or strengthen our entitlements. The President has just three years left in his administration, and yet he seems determined to do nothing about our fiscal challenges.”

https://mninews.marketnews.com/index.php/us-rep-boehner-rep-ryan-heap-scorn-obamas-fy2015-budget?q=content/us-rep-boehner-rep-ryan-heap-scorn-obamas-fy2015-budget

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