American Elephants


Florida Ruling Halts Obamacare in 26 States by American Elephant

Until and unless a higher court grants a stay, this ruling prohibits the Federal Government from enforcing Obamacare in the 26 petitioning states.

Jennifer Rubin has the details:

I read the section on “Injunction” and could scarely believe my eyes. Was the judge ordering the government not to enforce ObamaCare in all 26 states? Oh, yes, indeed.

Robert Alt of the Heritage Institute e-mailed me, “The judge noted that declaratory relief is the functional equivalent of an injunction, and applied the long-standing presumption ‘that officials of the Executive Branch will adhere to the law as declared by the court.’ So in the case, the judge asserted that the declaratory relief should bind the parties. If the Obama administration wishes to impose the requirements of Obamacare upon the states, it will need to seek a stay of the opinion either from the judge, or from the 11th Circuit.” [emphasis mine]

Those states are: AL, AK, AZ, CO, FL, GA, IA, IN, ID, KS, LA, ME, MI, MS, NE, NV, ND, OH, PA, SC, SD, TX, UT, WA, WI and WY.

Correction: It is incorrect that this ruling only affects the 26 petitioning states, it stops enforcement of Obamacare in ALL states, because, as Gabriel Mator at Ace of Spades reminds us, the ruling is binding on all parties, not just the petitioners, but also the Federal Government:

The law is unconstitutional and that ruling is binding on the parties. Not just the 26 plaintiff states, mind you, as I’ve also seen erroneously reported.All parties to a lawsuit are bound, including and especially the defendants, that is, the U.S. departments attempting to implement ObamaCare. [read more]

Duh! Dumb, dumb, dumb mistake on my part. I apologize for the error.

(h/t Gay Patriot)



POLL: 58% Want Obamacare Repealed by American Elephant

Expect these numbers to only increase after the ruling:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 58% of Likely Voters at least somewhat favor repeal of the health care law, including 47% who Strongly Favor repeal.  Thirty-eight percent (38%) oppose repeal, with 29% who are Strongly Opposed.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Support for repeal has ranged from 50% to 63% in weekly tracking since Democrats in Congress passed the law in March of last year.

What was that Obama said a few days ago about the consent of the governed?

Update: Ah, yes:

“…governments must maintain power through consent, not coercion.”

The American people do not consent, Mr. Obama.



Breaking: Obamacare Ruled Unconstitutional by American Elephant

In a ruling on Obamacare that is just out,  in the largest case yet, brought by 26 states, Judge Roger Vinson of the Federal District Court in Northern Florida , has declared the entire law unconstitutional:

“For the reasons stated, I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate.”

“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void”

Most laws that congress writes have what is called a severability clause, that says, in effect, that should any individual part of the law be ruled unconstitutional, the rest of the law should remain in tact. I guess in their haste to shove this law down America’s throat in the dead of night, Democrats forgot to include such a clause, so the judge has tossed the entire law out.

Hot damn!

Obviously, this is not the final word, and will eventually be decided by SCOTUS, but it is encouraging nonetheless.

The opinion can be found here.



Amazing Humanity! by The Elephant's Child
January 31, 2011, 11:53 am
Filed under: Art, Freedom, Heartwarming | Tags: , ,

We are all familiar with beautiful videos of animal life on our planet, but here is an unusual video from the BBC on the amazing human race.



Foolish Rules and Stupid Regulations. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal last week to show how serious his new interest in creating jobs and relieving the unemployment  situation is. He was set on reducing unnecessary regulation that hampered business, like regulating saccharine.

Businesses have told us over and over that they are troubled by uncertainty.  They don’t know how much taxes they’ll have to pay next year.  They don’t know what ObamaCare is going to do to them;  they don’t know what energy is going to cost and what regulations will come along with that; and they don’t know what new business regulations will be imposed, nor what regulations the EPA is going to issue to hamper their business.

Obama doesn’t seem to know what to do about jobs, for he seems to think that all useful economic activity is a result of government spending.  So his inclination is to offer some benefit, as he grudgingly agreed to refrain from raising taxes on those who filed with incomes over $200,000 to $250,000; then in the State of the Union made it clear that he would raise their taxes as soon as possible.  He lifts the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf; but the new regulations and the new restrictions mean than permits are not being issued.  While he is asking for more job creation, his EPA is issuing one regulation after another to interfere with business.

The president says he wants to dump regulations that are “just plain dumb,” so we’d nominate a rule that subjects dairy farmers to the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure program which was created in 1970 to prevent oil discharges in navigable waters or near shorelines.  The EPA has discovered that milk contains “a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil,” as the agency said in the Federal Register.

Not long ago we were reading about the EPA intention to regulate farm dust as particulates that are not in compliance with the Clean Air Act.  I don’t know what happened to that one, but it was a clear indication that no one at the EPA has ever driven down a rural road in the summer.  Many rural roads are unpaved, farm fields get plowed, and forest roads are seldom paved. The EPA is light in the science department, and well populated with environmental zealots.

I remain convinced that most environmental zealots are city people who are totally unfamiliar with the environment that they attempt so assiduously to regulate.  Nature really isn’t as gentle and peaceful as greeting cards would have you believe, and the consequences aren’t always pretty.



Get Your Hands Off My Lightbulbs! by The Elephant's Child

Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), along with Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and 12 other Republicans,  has introduced a bill to repeal the 2007 law that bans incandescent lightbulbs starting in 2012.

As I understand it, the bill banning incandescent lightbulbs was essentially written by General Electric, a company that has managed their bottom line by close cooperation and subsidies from the Obama administration.  GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt is the chairman of President Obama’s new Jobs Commission.  GE expects to make considerably more income from selling CFL bulbs produced in China, and has closed all their incandescent bulb factories in this country. So much for American “green jobs.”

California’s utilities are spending $548 million over seven years to subsidize consumer purchases of compact fluorescent bulbs.  Californians are obliging by buying more than they need to prepare for the time when the subsidy ends.  Another reason is that the bulbs burn out far faster than advertised.

In theory, CFL bulbs offer energy savings of about 75% over traditional incandescents. The United Nations says that 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to lighting and the adoption of compact fluorescent bulbs could cut pollution. Whoa.  We have learned that information about greenhouse gases from the UN is highly suspect, and the statement is filled with weasel words like “linked” and “could cut.”

PG&E  thought people wold buy 53 million CFL bulbs by 2008.  They allotted $92 million for rebates, but fewer bulbs were purchased, they didn’t last as long, and they didn’t save as much energy as expected — 73% less than expected.   The bulbs were expected to last 9.4 years, but the average has been 6.3 years. They don’t adapt well to being turned on and off frequently, either.

Even more, people hate them.  They don’t like the CFL light, they don’t like the time it takes for the bulb to reach full brightness, they don’t like the excessive cost, and they especially don’t like nanny government interference in their homes in things that most people feel are not the government’s business.  Enough is enough.

LED bulbs give a more pleasant light, last far longer, but give you a real shock at the price.  At over $30.00 for a bulb, the price for replacing all bulbs in the house is a bit daunting.

Consumers like incandescent bulbs.  They prefer incandescent light, and the fluorescents’ cost at retail 10 times more than ordinary bulbs that work perfectly well.  The idea that incandescent bulbs contribute to “greenhouse gases” and thus to global warming have been relegated to junk science, and most people know it.   And the EPA’s elaborate instructions for disposal of a broken CFL bulb are frightening.

The EPA promotes the safety of CFLs in order to advance their jihad against greenhouse gases, yet a broken CFL bulb releases mercury at concentrations from 667 to 2,557 times what they claim is permissible exposure for you and your children. T he EPA finds the bulbs useful in their regulatory efforts, otherwise they would have been banned long ago as unsafe.

If you like Representative Barton’s bill, you might want to let your representatives know.  I’m all for it, and if anyone else wants to eliminate the EPA, I’m with them on that one too.  I can’t think of anything useful that they do.

ADDENDUM: I neglected to mention that the bill is called the BULB Act (HR 91).  Congressional struggles to name a bill so that it will get a memorable acronym are always funny.  It’s the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act.



Democrats Cheer at their Own Obstructionism by The Elephant's Child

George W. Bush developed a cautious plan for rescuing Social Security, by allowing people to — if they chose — to invest a small portion of their FICA payments, which would probably bring a higher return than Social Security would.  Democrats, with their usual inability to grasp basic economics, shrieked that Bush was trying to take Social Security away from Granny, and shot down the whole idea.

USEFUL LINKS:
Social Security Is in Far Worse Shape Than You Think
Social Security Disability Benefits Unsustainable

George W. Bush also called for reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seventeen times in 2008 alone.  Democrats in Congress insisted that the giant government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), who feature so prominently in any account of the causes of the financial crisis, were in fine shape, and needed no reform.  They just needed to loan more money to more unqualified homebuyers to increase homeownership.  Democrats  enthusiastically voted down any reform effort.

Did You Know that Bush Called for Reform 17 Times in 2008  Alone?

Incompetent, irresponsible and impossibly partisan. It’s like living in a dysfunctional family where the mom is a shopaholic and kleptomaniac, and the dad keeps trying to restrain her and keep her out of jail.  And of course Dad is accused of being mean.  Go Figure!



ObamaCare is a Government Takeover, But Special Friends Get Waivers! by The Elephant's Child

Liberals were ecstatic when they passed ObamaCare. They were sure that they had done something wonderful for the American people, who would love it. But hardly anyone really noticed that they excused themselves completely from participating. At that point, most people didn’t have much of an idea of what was in the plan, or how it would affect them.

People have been reading it, and as they have learned what’s in it, organizations have discovered that they would not able to meet the reform law’s new requirement for annual coverage limits. So the Department of Health and Human Services, (HHS) the regulatory arm of ObamaCare, has been quietly issuing waivers or ‘Get Out of ObamaCare Requirements Free” cards.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has granted 733 waivers so far to a who’s-who list of unions, businesses and even several cities and four states. Most prominent among the friends of Barack are members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  The bill was produced in cloakroom deals, and it continues to make a joke of much vaunted administration transparency.

A report from the Medicare and Medicaid Office of the Actuary exposed the fact that ObamaCare would cost $311 billion more than promised, and would result in 14 million Americans losing their current insurance. You will face higher health insurance premiums, but special friends in the unions will not. This is what Americans are supposed to love?

Insurance & Financial Advisor Magazine, explains how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is takeover, social engineering by the federal government. ” The McCarran Ferguson Act passed in the 1940s said that the states regulate insurance.  Now the federal government regulates health insurance or tells the states how they will regulate health insurance.”



Another Day, Another Global Warming Lie Debunked by American Elephant

Actually, it was yesterday, but nonetheless — “progressive” warm-mongers hardest hit:

Himalayan glaciers are actually advancing rather than retreating, claims the first major study since a controversial UN report said they would be melted within quarter of a century.

Researchers have discovered that contrary to popular belief half of the ice flows in the Karakoram range of the mountains are actually growing rather than shrinking.

The discovery adds a new twist to the row over whether global warming is causing the world’s highest mountain range to lose its ice cover.

It further challenges claims made in a 2007 report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the glaciers would be gone by 2035.

Although the head of the panel Dr Rajendra Pachauri later admitted the claim was an error gleaned from unchecked research, he maintained that global warming was melting the glaciers at “a rapid rate”, threatening floods throughout north India.



Egypt. by The Elephant's Child

The thing about watching the drama of the protests in Egypt is that we don’t know anything.  We get confusing bits and pieces, snapshots here and there.  Americans are inclined to root for freedom, but there are forces here we don’t understand, and most of us don’t speak the language.  In a way, the more glimpses we get, the less we know.

Drudge has a story to the effect that America has secretly been backing the rebels. Who knows whether it is true?  Peter Wehner, writing at Commentary, says that this turmoil is vindication for Bush’s Freedom Agenda.  In a November 19, 2003 speech at Whitehall Palace in London, President Bush said:

We must shake off decades of failed policy in the Middle East. Your nation and mine, in the past, have been willing to make a bargain, to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability. …

As recent history has shown, we cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own backyard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims, and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found.

Now we’re pursuing a different course, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. We will consistently challenge the enemies of reform and confront the allies of terror.

This was widely criticized,  but surely it is better for the United States to say up front that we don’t tolerate oppression for the sake of stability, and that tyranny is unacceptable.  Isn’t that who we are? We are Americans, and we advocate freedom, and oppose tyranny.

Simple and straightforward.



Pulling the Plug on Green Power. by The Elephant's Child

It is hard to tell just how much one government is influenced by the actions of another.  It is a lot.  Consider light rail, HOV lanes, lotteries, sin taxes, wind farms, bans on plastic bags, with an accompanying tax.  I could go on, but you get the idea.  These would never have happened in most states or cities without the cover of some other city or state doing it.

Now austerity is pulling the plug on green subsidies in Europe.  European states are dumping or rolling back their subsidies for renewable energy as some kind of economic sanity is developing. That apparently will not extend to the U.S.

The housing bubble in Spain led to a national unemployment rate of over 20 percent.  The government’s subsidies for so-called clean energy were a drain on the taxpayer  that disguised a politically correct industrial program. Sunny Spain became the world’s top solar power producer.  Since 2002, about €23-billion had been invested in Spain’s photovoltaic industry.

Other European countries are taking a long hard look at their renewable energy sectors.  France has declared a 3 month moratorium while they decide what to do.  CRE, the independent regulator of the French energy and natural gas markets has estimated that taxes on electricity would have to triple to meet the rising costs of renewable energy, and energy taxes could kill more jobs than those created by renewable expansion.

Germany is also scaling back subsidies, and Britain is facing  big problems as in such cold as they have had this winter, wind farms are unable to produce adequate power.  Denmark, supposedly the greenest of countries, actually generates half of its electricity from coal.  That percentage has remained constant even during the country’s pursuit of ever more wind power.

In Ontario, Canada, the average price for power last year was 3.7 cents per kilowatt hour.  Solar installations ranged from 44 cents to 80 cents. The new techniques of getting natural gas from shale deposits have resulted in a worldwide glut.  Some sources say we have a 250 year supply.  Israel has found huge supplies of natural gas off their coast.  The Times of India has reported their first shale gas pool found near Durgapur.

Terence Corcoran of the Financial Post in Canada pointed out that: “In the middle of his State of the Union speech, the U.S. President flicked a switch that called for an Apollo-like mission to a green planet far, far away, triggering a malfunction that puts the United States back on course to nowhere.”

Mr. Obama, returning to the nasty corporate-bashing message of his first two years, attacked the U.S. oil industry by implying it was receiving massive subsidies that could be redirected to clean energy. “I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we’re currently giving to oil companies.” In fact, there is no money going to oil companies. It’s not a subsidy but a tax deduction that is used by all U.S. manufacturing corporations. Now Mr. Obama wants to single out the oil industry for punishment.

When it comes to paying corporate taxes, a recent University of North Carolina study found that U.S. oil giants paid effective tax rates of up to 43.9% (Chevron) between 2003 and 2007. During the same period, the green giant GE enjoyed a tax rate of 11.5%

That’s a pretty clear indication that neither Obama nor the new Chairman of his Jobs Council are going to be creating many new jobs anytime soon.  No Apollo projects here, just the same old fantasy of green energy and green jobs that European countries are rejecting.  Will President Obama learn anything from their experience?



For Some Reason I have The Housemartins’ “World’s on Fire” running through my head by American Elephant
January 28, 2011, 12:01 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Music, News, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: , , , ,

Hmm. Wonder why.

At least Obama is on top of the situation!  Paper: “[events] moving too fast for Obama administration”.

Sigh. The country’s in the very best of hands. “Smart Power!”




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