Urgent Alert And A Big Oops: 17 Muslim Pilots With “Secure Defense Installation” Access AWOL From Texas Base

Urgent Alert And A Big  Oops: 17 Muslim Pilots With “Secure Defense Installation” Access AWOL From Texas Base

June 17th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

lackland-air-force-base

Fox News:

A nationwide alert has been issued for 17 members of the Afghan military who have gone AWOL from a Texas Air Force base where foreign military officers who are training to become pilots are taught English, FoxNews.com has learned.

The Afghan officers and enlisted men have security badges that give them access to secure U.S. defense installations, according to the lookout bulletin, “Afghan Military Deserters in CONUS [Continental U.S.],” issued by Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Dallas, and obtained by FoxNews.com.

The Afghans were attending the Defense Language Institute at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. The DLI program teaches English to military pilot candidates and other air force prospects from foreign countries allied with the U.S.

“I can confirm that 17 have gone missing from the Defense Language Institute,” said Gary Emery, Chief of Public Affairs, 37th Training Wing, at Lackland AFB. “They disappeared over the course of the last two years, and none in the last three months.”

Each Afghan was issued a Department of Defense Common Access Card, an identification card used to gain access to secure military installations, with which they “could attempt to enter DOD installations,” according to the bulletin. Base security officers were encouraged to disseminate the bulletin to their personnel.

“The visas issued to these personnel have been revoked, or are in the process of being revoked. Lookouts have been placed in TECS,” it reads.

Treasury Enforcement Communications System
(TECS), which is shared by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is a computer-based database used to identify people suspected of violating federal law.

Included in the bulletin are photos of the 17 men, accompanied by their dates of birth and their TECS Lookout numbers.

The bulletin requests, “If any Afghan pictured herein is encountered, detain the subject and contact your local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, the FBI or NCIS.”

A senior Defense Department official in Washington told Fox News he had no direct knowledge of the 17 men being AWOL. The official added that this is not the first time foreign trainees have gone missing, and said some cases in the past have turned out to be more of an immigration concern than a national security threat.

The FBI and NCIS did not respond to requests for comment. A Department of Homeland Security spokesman referred FoxNews.com to the FBI.

Click here for the names of the 17 Afghan military members named in the alert.

BP Oil Spill: Against Gov. Jindal’s Wishes, Crude-Sucking Barges Stopped by Coast Guard

BP Oil Spill: Against Gov. Jindal’s Wishes, Crude-Sucking Barges Stopped by Coast Guard

59 Days Into Oil Crisis, Gulf Coast Governors Say Feds Are Failing Them

By DAVID MUIR and BRADLEY BLACKBURN

June 17, 2010— Eight days ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state’s oil-soaked waters. Today, against the governor’s wishes, those barges sat idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore.

 “It’s the most frustrating thing,” the Republican governor said today in Buras, La. “Literally, yesterday morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges.” Watch “World News” for David Muir’s report from Louisiana tonight. Sixteen barges sat stationary today, although they were sucking up thousands of gallons of BP’s oil as recently as Tuesday. Workers in hazmat suits and gas masks pumped the oil out of the Louisiana waters and into steel tanks. It was a homegrown idea that seemed to be effective at collecting the thick gunk.

“These barges work. You’ve seen them work. You’ve seen them suck oil out of the water,” said Jindal.

 Coast Guard Orders Barges to Stop

So why stop now? “The Coast Guard came and shut them down,” Jindal said. “You got men on the barges in the oil, and they have been told by the Coast Guard, ‘Cease and desist. Stop sucking up that oil.'”

 A Coast Guard representative told ABC News today that it shares the same goal as the governor.

 “We are all in this together. The enemy is the oil,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dan Lauer.

 But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.

 Louisiana Governor Couldn’t Overrule Coast Guard

The governor said he didn’t have the authority to overrule the Coast Guard’s decision, though he said he tried to reach the White House to raise his concerns. “They promised us they were going to get it done as quickly as possible,” he said. But “every time you talk to someone different at the Coast Guard, you get a different answer.” After Jindal strenuously made his case, the barges finally got the go-ahead today to return to the Gulf and get back to work, after more than 24 hours of sitting idle. Along Gulf Coast, Governors Ask, ‘Who’s In Charge?’

Fifty-nine days into the crisis, it still can be tough to figure out who is in charge in Louisiana, and the problem appears to be the same in other Gulf Coast states. In Alabama today, Gov. Bob Riley said that he’s had problems with the Coast Guard, too.

Riley, R-Ala., asked the Coast Guard to find ocean boom tall enough to handle strong waves and protect his shoreline.

The Coast Guard went all the way to Bahrain to find it, but when it came time to deploy it?

“It was picked up and moved to Louisiana,” Riley said today.

The governor said the problem is there’s still no single person giving a “yes” or “no.” While the Gulf Coast governors have developed plans with the Coast Guard’s command center in the Gulf, things begin to shift when other agencies start weighing in, like the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“It’s like this huge committee down there,” Riley said, “and every decision that we try to implement, any one person on that committee has absolute veto power.”

New Bill Gives Obama ‘Kill Switch’ To Shut Down The Internet

New Bill Gives Obama ‘Kill Switch’ To Shut Down The Internet

 

           

overnment would have “absolute power” to seize control of the world wide web under Lieberman legislation

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The federal government would have “absolute power” to shut down the Internet under the terms of a new US Senate bill being pushed by Joe Lieberman, legislation which would hand President Obama a figurative “kill switch” to seize control of the world wide web in response to a Homeland Security directive.

Lieberman has been pushing for government regulation of the Internet for years under the guise of cybersecurity, but this new bill goes even further in handing emergency powers over to the feds which could be used to silence free speech under the pretext of a national emergency.

“The legislation says that companies such as broadband providers, search engines or software firms that the US Government selects “shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed” by the Department of Homeland Security. Anyone failing to comply would be fined,” reports ZDNet’s Declan McCullagh.

The 197-page bill (PDF) is entitled Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, or PCNAA.

Technology lobbying group TechAmerica warned that the legislation created “the potential for absolute power,” while the Center for Democracy and Technology worried that the bill’s emergency powers “include authority to shut down or limit internet traffic on private systems.”

The bill has the vehement support of Senator Jay Rockefeller, who last year asked during a congressional hearing, “Would it had been better if we’d have never invented the Internet?” while fearmongering about cyber-terrorists preparing attacks.

The largest Internet-based corporations are seemingly happy with the bill, primarily because it contains language that will give them immunity from civil lawsuits and also reimburse them for any costs incurred if the Internet is shut down for a period of time.

“If there’s an “incident related to a cyber vulnerability” after the President has declared an emergency and the affected company has followed federal standards, plaintiffs’ lawyers cannot collect damages for economic harm. And if the harm is caused by an emergency order from the Feds, not only does the possibility of damages virtually disappear, but the US Treasury will even pick up the private company’s tab,” writes McCullagh.

Tom Gann, McAfee’s vice president for government relations, described the bill as a “very important piece of legislation”.

As we have repeatedly warned for years, the federal government is desperate to seize control of the Internet because the establishment is petrified at the fact that alternative and independent media outlets are now eclipsing corporate media outlets in terms of audience share, trust, and influence.

We witnessed another example of this on Monday when establishment Congressman Bob Etheridge was publicly shamed after he was shown on video assaulting two college students who asked him a question. Two kids with a flip cam and a You Tube account could very well have changed the course of a state election, another startling reminder of the power of the Internet and independent media, and why the establishment is desperate to take that power away.

The government has been searching for any avenue possible through which to regulate free speech on the Internet and strangle alternative media outlets, with the FTC recently proposing a “Drudge Tax” that would force independent media organizations to pay fees that would be used to fund mainstream newspapers.

Similar legislation aimed at imposing Chinese-style censorship of the Internet and giving the state the power to shut down networks has already been passed globally, including in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

We have extensively covered efforts to scrap the internet as we know it and move toward a greatly restricted “internet 2″ system. Handing government the power to control the Internet would only be the first step towards this system, whereby individual ID’s and government permission would be required simply to operate a website.

The Lieberman bill needs to be met with fierce opposition at every level and from across the political spectrum. Regulation of the Internet would not only represent a massive assault on free speech, it would also create new roadblocks for e-commerce and as a consequence further devastate the economy.

Elderly and Expendable

Elderly and Expendable

Posted By Tait Trussell On June 17, 2010 @ 12:01 am In FrontPage | 6 Comments

The Obama Administration and the President’s pals in Congress have been on a deliberate course to write off America’s senior citizens as a lost cause politically. This decision is based on an internal Democrat study indicating that seniors don’t trust Obama.

The Democrats, in fact, have stiffed the country’s seniors: ranging from multi-billion dollar cuts in Medicare [1] to driving physicians to drop seniors as patients by delaying [2] and cutting federal reimbursements to such medical specialists as cardiologists and oncologists, who treat the biggest killers of seniors–heart disease and cancer.

The disdain toward seniors has included cuts in home health care [3] and payments to hospitals to new taxes on medical devices [4] on which many seniors depend. Add to this: increases in the medicare tax [5] on some working seniors and cancellation of the traditional cost-of-living boost to Social Security checks [6] for 2010 and 2011.

During the stretched-out debate over the new health law, seniors  continually heard that Medicare would be slashed by $500 billion. The final bill’s provisions included $132 billion chopped from Medicare Advantage, [7] the enhanced private version of Medicare in which 25 percent of seniors are enrolled.

Implemented over 10 years, it would chip away at their benefits and worry old folks that lower payments will force health providers to stop taking new Medicare patients.

“From all I have been able to tell so far, it’s going to hurt,” said Dalton, Ga., resident Horton Herrin, 72. The retired Georgia state employee has a private Medicare Advantage plan that is targeted for cuts under the health reform package.

Even though Obama’s 2008 election was historic in many ways his performance among seniors [8] (age 65 and over) provided one of the few low points. Exit pools showed that Obama lost to John McCain among seniors 45 to 53 percent.

According to an important 2009 analysis by Democracy Corps, founded by Democrat strategists [9] Stan Greenberg and James Carville, “The central reason that white seniors did not support Obama is that they feared the type of change he would bring. They remained skeptical about whose side Obama was on, distrusted him generally, and specifically were concerned about this level of experience. These feelings that hold white seniors back from Obama were particularly true among white senior men and seniors without a college degree….”

A recent Rasmussen Poll [10] found that 59 percent of voting seniors favor repeal of the ObamaCare law. Well aware of this skepticism of the President’s policies, Obama is certainly not depending on seniors as part of his political support base.

The latest move irking the aging was when the Senate went on Memorial Day vacation without fixing the cut in payments to doctors for Medicare patients. Seniors didn’t know if their doctor bills would be paid. As American Medical Association (AMA) President [11] James Rohack said: “The U.S. Senate turned its back on our nation’s seniors and physicians who care for them by going on vacation…without making a fix in the federal reimbursement rate for doctors who care for Medicare recipients.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) sent letters to doctors informing them that the agency had told Medicare contractors to delay processing Medicare claims for 10 business days. This was to give Congress time to fix the reimbursement legislation. But it left Medicare patients wondering if and when Medicare would pay for a visit to their doctor.

So, some seniors worried from Memorial Day until June 14 when CMS contractors were allowed to begin claims processing [12] since the threatened 21 percent cut to Medicare physicians’ payment rates had been set in the House, but still not determined in the Senate. The American College of Cardiology [13] CEO Jack Lewin branded the Senate’s failure to act “the worst-case scenario for patients and physicians.”

The Administration is further causing seniors to fret in naming a new administrator for Medicare and Medicaid [14] who believes fervently in rationing care. Dr. Donald Berwick, President Obama’s choice to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is president of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement and professor at Harvard Medical School. “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open,” he has said.

Dr. Berwick made that statement when discussing duties of the Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). That body was part of the original $787 billion stimulus law. CER was created to evaluate the cost of medical treatments and their outcome.  Dr. Berwick is enamored with the British system of health care, particularly the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), which is, as TIME magazine described it: “a rationing panel for British patients.” Dr. Berwick also has been quoted as saying: “I am a romantic about the (British) National Health Service. [15] I love it.”

He also has been quoted as saying “If I could wave a magic want…health care (would be) a common good—single payer (system) a nonnegotiable starting place.” Britain’s CER model “calculates a treatment by quality-adjusted life years, refusing to pay for a treatment…” costing a certain amount that doesn’t “extend a patient’s life by at least one year.”

Of course, Obama hasn’t given up completely on any possible voters in the next presidential race. His Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius sent out a slick four-color folder in May to all Medicare recipients [16] in the U.S. saying the new health law “will provide you and your family greater savings and increased quality care…so that you, and your family, and doctor—not insurance companies—have greater control over your care.”

Republican Senate leaders called it propaganda and inaccurate. They demanded that Sebelius tell who commissioned the message and approved the money to mail it. A request to CMS for the cost of the folder and it mailing is still pending.

Video: Obama gives Back Major Strip of AZ to Mexico

Video: Obama gives Back Major Strip of AZ to Mexico

June 16th, 2010

Fox Nation

 

The federal government is now telling American citizens to stay out of three southern Arizona counties. It is too dangerous because of armed smugglers from Mexico.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu: Quite frankly I’m telling you as a sheriff that we don’t control that part of the county. My county is larger than the state of Connecticut and we need support from the federal government. It’s their job to secure the border and they haven’t done it. In fact President Obama suspended the construction of the fence.

FOX News reporter: Would you like to see some of the president’s outrage about the oil spill and some of the butt-kicking that he’s talked about doing applied there on the border as well?

Sheriff Paul Babeu: Even with that, you say one thing and then you’re out at a fundraiser in California and you don’t go to the funeral of the people who died in the explosion. You know its one thing to say something slick on television in a ten second soundbite but we need action. And, it’s shameful that we as the most powerful nation on earth can win wars and liberate countries throughout history yet we can’t even secure our own border.

Source

Rep. Mike Pence Has a Question for the President “Mr. President, Whose Side Are You On?”

“Mr. President, Whose Side Are You On?”

By Doug Powers  •  June 10, 2010 04:22 PM

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

In light of the fact that all problems are solved in the United States and our debt and spending are under control, President Obama yesterday pledged $400 million in U.S. aid to the Palestinian territories. The money was pledged during a meeting between Obama and Mahmoud Abbas.

Obama said he would not meet with the CEO of BP because “he’s going to say all the right things to me, I’m not interested in words, I’m interested in actions,” so it’s nice to see him have such confidence in Abbas to be honest and forthright in his ultimately successful attempt to get his hands on hundreds of millions of American taxpayer dollars.

Cassy Fiano calls it a “terrorist stimulus package,” and if it is, the only reason for optimism is the hope that a terrorist stimulus will work as well as the stimulus package. If Sheriff Biden is in charge of making sure the aid works as intended, Abbas is screwed.

But remember, the $400 million is just a “down payment”:

The Obama administration’s promise of aid includes money to increase access to clean drinking water, create jobs and build schools and affordable housing. State Department officials called the projects “a down payment” on the U.S. commitment to improving life in Gaza.

Last year, U.S. officials pledged a total of $900 million for Gaza and the West Bank, but acknowledged the difficulty of distributing the funds, especially because Hamas controls Gaza and is considered a terrorist organization. The aid announced Wednesday may be distributed through organizations performing relief work, State Department officials said.

Sure. This aid will be different… it won’t be handed to the guys in the “Hamas” shirts, but rather to the nice folks wearing the “samaH” shirts (inability to recognize a t-shirt turned inside-out is a time-honored skill that’s been handed down through generations of United Nations aid distributors).

Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana isn’t happy with any of this, and asks Obama what I’d consider the rhetorical question of the week: “Whose side are you on?” (h/t Cubachi):

“Mr. President, Whose Side Are You On?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c09RyJC0JqI&feature=player_embedded

Here are some things the media doesn’t report about Gaza. It ain’t all misery and Israeli-induced dispair.

According to exit polling on election day 2008, 78% of Jewish voters went for the US presidential candidate with a background that suggested he would empathize with the Muslim point of view (and I’m putting that so mildly that it borders on beyond sarcasm). I’m not Jewish, so if three-quarters of American Jewish folks don’t mind, maybe I shouldn’t be as concerned as I am. We’ll see what the numbers look like after the 2012 election.

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

What took so long?

What took so long?

Thomas Lifson

Times truly have changed. The RNC (!) has come up with a hard-hitting ad holding President Obama accountable for his desultory management of the Gulf crisis. The more Americans who see this, the better.
Video

The Big Lie used to justify drilling moratorium

The Big Lie used to justify drilling moratorium

Rick Moran

The Obama administration used the names of drilling experts to justify a ban on deep water drilling – despite the fact that 8 of these experts who were listed in the Interior Department report used as a basis for the moratorium say that their names had been used to justify a political decision:

When President Obama last month announced his six-month deepwater moratorium, he pointed to an Interior Department report of new “safety” recommendations. That report prominently noted that the recommendations it contained-including the six-month drilling ban-had been “peer-reviewed” by “experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.” It also boasted that Interior “consulted with a wide range” of other experts. The clear implication was that the nation’s drilling brain trust agreed a moratorium was necessary.As these columns reported last week, the opposite is true. In a scathing document, eight of the “experts” the Administration listed in its report said their names had been “used” to “justify” a “political decision.” The draft they reviewed had not included a six-month drilling moratorium. The Administration added that provision only after it had secured sign-off. In their document, the eight forcefully rejected a moratorium, which they argued could prove more economically devastating than the oil spill itself and “counterproductive” to “safety.”

The Administration insisted this was much ado about nothing. An Interior spokesman claimed the experts clearly had been called to review the report on a “technical basis,” whereas the moratorium was a “comprehensive” question. Obama environment czar Carol Browner declared: “No one’s been deceived or misrepresented.” Really? We can only imagine the uproar if a group of climate scientists had claimed the Bush Administration misappropriated their views.

It gets worse.

The experts were certainly under the impression they were reviewing a comprehensive document, as some of the recommendations would take six months or even a year to implement. And the report they agreed to did address moratoria: It recommended a six-month ban on new deepwater permits. Yet Benton Baugh, president of Radoil, said that in at least two separate hour-and-a-half phone calls among Interior and the experts, there was no discussion of a moratorium on existing drilling. “Because if anybody had [made that suggestion], we’d have said ‘that’s craziness.'” 

The Obama administration is almost as good at “craziness” as they are at lying.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky

The President’s Oil Reserves Lie

The President’s Oil Reserves Lie

By Chad Stafko

Tuesday night, following a tour of the Gulf Coast area, the President of the United States addressed the nation regarding the state of the BP oil spill. In his speech from the Oval Office, President Obama spoke regarding our nation’s dependence upon oil and how we need to break that dependence. 

During his speech, the president made a statement that was blatantly false. The president noted, “We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserve. And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean — because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.”
We are not running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water. In fact, it is due to the president’s party of extreme environmentalists that BP had to drill some forty miles from the coastline in deep waters to extract oil. Imagine if this oil leak had happened in the shallow waters off of the East Coast or even, dare we say it, in the pristine ANWR region. How much easier it would have been to cap the leak and clean up the oil?
Consider our nation’s vast oil reserve resources that are currently unavailable for use due to government ownership of the land or outright bans on drilling in certain areas.
According to a June 2008 article in Kiplinger Magazine, the United States has enough oil reserves to power the nation for upwards of three centuries. That’s three hundred years, Mr. President. We are not running out of oil reserves — it’s just that those oil reserves have been declared off-limits due to decades of environmental lobbying of our politicians, especially those on the Left. This lobbying has driven the likes of BP and others out deep into the Gulf of Mexico to extract the nation’s needed oil.
Note the following statement from the article:
… untapped reserves are estimated at about 2.3 trillion barrels, nearly three times more than the reserves held by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) and sufficient to meet 300 years of demand-at today’s levels-for auto, aircraft, heating and industrial fuel, without importing a single barrel of oil.
Think about that.  The nations that currently hold us hostage by their massive oil production actually have far fewer reserves than our own nation. Put another way, some of the very nations on which we are dependent for oil are also the same nations that help to sponsor worldwide terrorism. Were we to extract our own oil, it would make our nation and the world a safer place. But isn’t a spotted owl more important than the safety of the world?
Among the areas the article mentions are the oil shale located underneath land in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. These lands are federally protected, but they alone could provide about two hundred years’ worth of oil for the nation. Others mentioned include oil reserves located under Montana and some reserves located on protected lands in Texas, California, Utah, and Kentucky.
In fact, our own government has acknowledged the vast oil resources available to us. In an April 2008 study conducted by the United States Geological Survey, the group began its press release with the following: “North Dakota and Montana have an estimated 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in an area known as the Bakken Formation.”
The report acknowledges that the available oil reserves could be much larger, but the 3.0 to 4.3 billion figure represents oil recoverable right now with today’s technology. In fact, there may more than 100 billion barrels eventually recoverable with continued developments in the technology necessary to extract the oil.
Then there is the most famous government-blocked area of oil reserves, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuges (ANWR). With 10 billion barrels available, ANWR is the most accessible of the major untapped oil reserve locations in the United States, and claims are that this oil could be extracted in a way that would have minimal negative environmental impact. 
Yet with all of these resources, here we sit, importing oil at a feverish pace, and a significant portion of it from our enemies and those who support terrorist organizations around the world. And here we sit watching oil float towards our shores through unnecessary deep-water drilling when we could be drilling on dry land.
Yes, the president is correct when he calls for the need to use more alternative energy sources. Some of these may, in the long-term, actually be more efficient than the use of oil and be more readily accessible. However, until then, we would be wise to tap our God-given resources in the safest of areas first before we go drilling more than a mile beneath the ocean for the same fuel that is available on dry land.
Therefore, if we’re tossing all the blame towards BP for this catastrophic oil spill, then we’re ignoring other perpetrators. The reason BP and other oil companies are drilling 40-plus miles off the shoreline and more than a mile deep is because of the stranglehold that environmentalists have held on politicians and their resulting energy policies for decades.
Let’s use some common sense. Drill first on land, then in water. It’s really not that difficult.
Chad Stafko is a writer and political consultant living in the Midwest. He can be reached at stafko@msn.com.

Obama administration spends $1.2 billion on cycling and walking initiatives

Obama administration spends $1.2 billion on cycling and walking initiatives

The Obama administration more than doubled spending on cycling and walking initiatives to $1.2 billion (£810 million) last year as it seeks to coax Americans out of their cars.

Published: 11:36PM BST 16 Jun 2010

 

The Obama administration more than doubled spending on cycling and walking initiatives Photo: GETTY

Spending on biking and walking projects rose from less than $600 million (£407 million) in 2008, according to the Federal Highway Administraion. Twenty years ago, the federal government was spending only $6 million a year on such projects.

The spending on biking and walking projects was scheduled to rise last year anyway, but the administration boosted it with $400 million in funds set aside under the economic recovery program.

The new focus on biking and walking represents a turnaround from the administration of President George W Bush. Mary Peters, transportation secretary under Bush, dismissed biking paths and trails as projects that “really are not transportation,” saying they had no place in federal transportation policy.

In March, Mr Obama’s transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, announced a policy “sea change” that gives biking and walking projects the same importance as automobiles in transportation planning and the selection of projects for federal money.

The new policy is an extension of the Obama administration’s livability initiative, which regards the creation of alternatives to driving – buses, streetcars and trains, as well as biking and walking – as central to solving the nation’s transportation woes.

Biking and walking is on the rise, according to the report, which is based on annual survey data. The number of reported walking trips has more than doubled since the first survey, from 18 billion in 1990 to 42.5 billion in 2009. Bicycling trips saw a similar increase, from 1.7 billion to 4 billion during the same period.

Together, the two modes account for 11.9 per cent of all reported trips by Americans. Biking is less than 1 per cent of the total.

“Americans want and need safe alternatives to driving,” Mr LaHood said in a statement. “By making biking and walking safer and more accessible, we’ll be able to provide Americans with more choices and help foster more active, liveable communities.”