American Elephants


Stop Making Speeches, Mr. President, And Tend to Business! by The Elephant's Child

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Seems like everything is heating up. There are all these enormous problems that are just coming to our attention,  a lapdog media who ignore the problems, and there’s our natural reluctance to stop playing and pay attention. They are collectively going to get a lot worse before they get better, if they do.

— Obama has appointed a man who seems qualified to attempt to fix the problems at the Veterans Administration Health network. Robert McDonald is a former CEO of Proctor and Gamble, so large organizations are nothing new to him. He is a West Point graduate, and served in the military for the required 5 years post graduation. The limited military experience is unusual for the post which is usually filled by a former general or at least a colonel.

The big problems at the VA are 1. unionized employees, 2. a culture that plans to go home around 4:00 and schedules no operations after 2:00 pm and 3. has no way to measure efficiency except by wait-time for appointments. The bigest problem is that it is a big-government 340,000 employee  bureaucracy, which may preclude its ever becoming an efficient health care program.

ISIS , the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham, has erupted out of the Syrian crisis and swarmed its way across Iraq, executing and beheading opponents, crucifying members of the opposition, or throwing them alive off cliffs. This is the new Middle East caliphate, a religious and political successor to the prophet Mohammed and sovereign over all Muslims. They have stripped banks, captured military equipment and stockpiles, and captured oil fields. The current al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri once said a new caliphate would signal a turning of world history “against the empire of the United States and the world’s Jewish government.”

A bunch of fanatic thugs, perhaps, but a well-funded and equipped bunch intent on creating an Islamic state as a launching pad for attacking the U.S. homeland, according to a new congressional report. Four analysts at the Congressional Research Service made that assessment relying on intelligence reports and the words of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, (ISIL). Wealthy Sunni sheiks in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar have funneled money to the group to help it bring down the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Alawite , an offshoot of Shia Islam. They already have many hundreds of jihadists with Western nation passports. The Russians have sent military advisors to Iraq. This is a crisis of Obama’s own making, and he’s not really prepared to deal with it.

“President Obama’s recently announced energy and environment policies have been tried in many countries with the same result: abject failure. Yet when critics point this out, explaining that “the U.S. economy will lose millions of jobs and billions of dollars in growth,” Obama simply waves their objections away. Every European economy that has followed the same green agenda has faltered badly. In 2013, Germany built six more coal plants. China and India build four new ones every week, yet Obama can’t wait to shut down the coal industry. He remains deeply concerned about global warming.

Canada gave up on getting approval of the Keystone XL pipeline from Obama, and is building the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline to send their oil to Asia. Major job loss for the U.S. and a major economic loss for the country. Another. Now, inconveniently, scientists and studies are predicting global cooling ahead — Russia’s Pulkova Observatory: ‘We could be in for a cooling period that lasts 200-250 years.’  A new solar theory predicts imminent global cooling. The reason is the dramatic fall in solar radiation that started around 2004.  If the temperature on Earth is entirely controlled by solar effects, the cooling will return us to the temperature levels of the 1950s or even the 1920s, undoing the warming of the last 50 or 100 years in nothing flat. A sharp cooling effect is apt to hit in the next five years. There has been no warming at all in the last 17 years. We will need more power to keep us warm, and it’s a remarkably poor time to start shutting down coal plants for no reason. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, and has been much higher in the past, and seems to have little, if any, effect on the climate.

And then there is the crisis on the border. The Obama administration planned ahead for the subsequent flood of illegal children, older teenagers, gang members, Chinese and who knows who else. Homeland Security requested contractors as “escort services” for 65,000 unaccompanied children in January. The government cannot find enough places to put them, seems to have no real intention of returning them. Apparently children who have come across the border can effectively remain in the U.S. for years before they face a risk for deportation. In the meantime the federal government will take care of them?

Obama wants amnesty, and blames the whole surge on Republicans for not “reforming broken immigration laws” that Obama refuses to enforce because he wants amnesty and a flood of Hispanic immigrants. He stubbornly intends to get his way with executive orders.The problems are a direct result of his failure to enforce the borders, forbid the Border Patrol from preventing the influx, and he essentially told the Border Patrol and ICE that they may not do their jobs. This is not going to end well.



The Left Once Again Gets All Excited Over Nothing. by The Elephant's Child

The Left has once again gone nuts. The Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Hobby Lobby case this morning. The issue was whether closely held companies such as Hobby Lobby could be forced by the government to provide abortifacient coverage to its employees, in defiance of its owners’ deeply held religious beliefs.

In a 5-4 ruling written by Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby and other closely held companies do not have to provide contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the religious beliefs of the owners of the companies.

The government must provide religious accommodations to for-profit companies. The court ruled that the accommodations provided to non-profit religious organizations by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act also apply to for-profit companies.

All sorts of ideas here that are anathema to the Left: “for profit companies” — the Left really doesn’t believe in profit, and often believes that companies should not make a profit. They don’t get “deeply held religious beliefs.” And any hint that corporations are people takes them right back to Citizens United which brings on red-faced rage.

The decision applies only to “closely-held” companies not all corporations. It does not recognize a carte blanche right for all corporations. A publicly held corporation that trades on the stock market would not get the same protections.  Hobby Lobby has had no objection to providing insurance for contraceptives, 16 different kinds, but objects to providing abortifacient coverage, or the “morning after pill.”

In oral arguments, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor offered the argument that religious owners of a company could just drop coverage entirely. There would be a huge tax, but that’s just too bad, sometimes you have to pay hefty taxes. Hobby Lobby owners believe that they are compelled by their religious beliefs to provide health insurance to their employees, so that argument was no solution at all.

This is not an attack on women’s rights, nor an attack on women. I don’t see why insurance should be covering contraceptives at all. It only costs about $10 a month. If you want or need the “morning after pill” why should you not pay for it yourself? You can always refrain from unprotected sex.

The Left will try valiantly to make this a campaign issue. “Women’s health,” or “women’s reproductive health.” They will refine the language to make it more compelling.



We Can Be Swayed By Careful Use of Language: Watch Out! by The Elephant's Child

The EPA is making advance reservations for hotel accommodations for an “Environmental Justice conference this fall, says an article in the Free Beacon.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), Office of Enforcement and Compliance, Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) intends to award a fixed-price Purchase Order … to the Renaissance Arlington Local Capital View Hotel,” the solicitation said. “The purpose of this acquisition is to cover the cost of 195 sleeping room nights from Sept. 9 [to] Oct 2, 2014, at government rate for the 50th public meeting of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), a federal advisory committee of the EPA.

The Environmental Protection Agency has a federal advisory committee on National Environmental Justice? Why? There is no such thing as “environmental justice”. “Justice” refers to the law of the land which is enshrined in the Constitution, and the laws that are passed by Congress, the laws passed by the states, counties and municipalities. There isn’t some other bunch of “justice” that can be proclaimed by the green radicals at the EPA, or anybody else.

The NEJAC was established in 1993 to “obtain independent, consensus advice and recommendations from a broad spectrum of stakeholders involved in environmental justice.”

The council meets twice a year, bringing together members from community organizations, businesses, academic institutions, and state and local governments for “discussions about integrating environmental justice into EPA priorities and initiatives.”

The EPA defines “Environmental Justice” as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.”

Oh, please. Did you ever hear such a bunch of  utterly meaningless liberal bureaucratic gobbledygook? If there is any budget for such nonsense, it should be slashed to zero immediately. Here are some of the reported “presentations” from past meetings:

  1. Blocks to Sustainability and Environmental Justice, Health Disparities, Climate Change and Grant Writing.
  2. Effective Use of Large Scale Use of Large Scale Campus and Community Projects to Engage Environmental Justice While Promoting the Green Economy.
  3. Developing Sustainable Partnerships to Create Sustainable Communities.

“Sustainability” is another popular word among the elite.  Another word with no meaning, which usually turns up in bureaucratic meetings. Expensive conferences and meetings have to be shown as accomplishing something, and it has to sound important. Or at least important enough to justify the conference and the booze. So words like sustainable and consensus, and environmental justice are hauled out as justification, so the stakeholders can have a fun conference in a pleasant setting.

The Environmental Justice Advisory Council updated the 1996 “Model Plan for Public Participation,” a 25 page advisory for the EPA Administrator.

There are many terms that describe the concept of “public participation” – community participation, community involvement, community engagement, stakeholder involvement, stakeholder
engagement, among others. All of these terms are commonly used and acceptable. Regardless of the language used, what is critical to understand is the emphasis that any and all persons and groups
who are potentially interested, concerned, or affected by an action should be included (or given equal opportunity to participate) in the decision-making process.

Public participation, community involvement – what ever the term — is crucial in ensuring that decisions affecting human health and the environment embrace environmental justice. Communities
affected by environmental justice issues often already face many challenges and barriers associated with meaningful involvement and adequate representation in the development, implementation, and
enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Many affected communities are considered to be vulnerable or sensitive populations, due to factors such as cumulative exposure to toxins and pollutants, and have historically been left out of decision-making processes.

When did we stop speaking English and start speaking and writing in Newspeak? It is a language perpetrated in Human Resources departments and in the State Department. It’s the art of saying nothing in elevated terms. Because it sounds important everyone is afraid to challenge the emptiness therein. It consumes endless time that could be better spent writing a grocery list. Unfortunately it does not exist only in meetings. Our government is run by the ever-changing definition of words. We are fooled by the clever use of words, our lives are affected by the changing definitions of words, or words carefully chosen to alter our perceptions. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, anyone? Or how about the “Environmental Protection Agency?” Nancy Pelosi is in Texas, welcoming “new Americans.”



Obama and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week by The Elephant's Child

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It was an unusually interesting week. The Supreme Court handed down major abuse-of-power defeats; tens of thousands of Central American children (mostly 14 and over) are arriving at the border and overwhelming the Border Patrol’s ability to find any place to put them; the new Commissioner of the IRS testified to a disbelieving committee that Lois Lerner’s hard drive has gone to the dump, the U.S. was defeated by Germany in the World Cup; and the terrorists that Mr. Obama said were defeated have emerged to massacre, execute and behead their way across Iraq; and Mr. Obama is expected to do something. Whew!  A very bad week indeed. So naturally, Mr. Obama is out on the stump, making speeches.— his fallback position.

To top it all off, John Boehner announced that the House of Representatives would challenge him in the courts. The president gets petulant when he feels his presumed authority is being challenged by another branch. The Constitution is pretty clear. The Laws are made by the Congress, the President gets to sign them or not—he doesn’t get to make laws himself, nor rework nor fix the laws that are passed by Congress.

The president claims that all criticism from the Republicans is built on “phony scandals.” This is not a new claim. Benghazi—a phony scandal. Several speeches about how we had to trade Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban terrorists because we never leave our people behind; but we couldn’t supply security for an Ambassador and forced the Military, who wanted to go to the rescue of a couple of brave Seals, to stand down while they fought on for seven hours.

He claims the economy has created 9.4 million jobs in the last 51 months. Uh huh. We have 17 million fewer working age people with a job than we had in 2000. Fifty-eight million working age citizens are not working. Companies are fleeing overseas because of our uncompetitive corporate taxes. We have about 30% of our normal productivity growth, and we have about 30% fewer startups, but the economy is swell.

The problem is “obstruction” by the GOP. “They don’t do anything except block me and call me names,” he whined.  Republicans, he said, “think we should let big banks, and credit card companies, and polluters, and insurers do only whatever is best for their bottom line without any responsibility to anybody else.”

He not only dismissed any criticism, he completely denied abusing executive authority.

I’m not going to let gridlock and inaction and willful indifference and greed threaten the hard work of families like yours,” Mr. Obama continued. “And so we can’t afford to wait for Congress right now. And that’s why I’m going ahead and moving ahead without them wherever I can.”

Mr. Obama said “Now I’m not saying these are all bad people, they’re not. …but they can’t be too friendly towards me because they’d be run out of town by the tea party.”

It’s all very simple. Everything Obama does is right. All of his ideas are right. His worldview is correct. And the actions he has taken to improve the lives of Americans are all absolutely correct. He does not make mistakes, and be is never, never to blame for anything.  Whatever it is, is the Republican’s fault. After all, everybody says he is the smartest man in the world, don’t they?



All Growth in Employment Since 2000 Went To Immigrants. by The Elephant's Child

A new study by the Center for Immigration Studies reveals that:

Government  data show that since the year 2000, all of the net gain in the number of working-age (16-65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal). This is remarkable given that native-born Americans accounted for two-thirds of the growth in the total working age population. Although there has been some recovery from the Great Recession, there were still fewer working-age natives holding a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, while the number of immigrants with a job was 5.7 million above the 2000 level.

All of the net increase in employment went to immigrants in the last 14 years partly because, even before the Great Recession, immigrants were gaining a disproportionate share of jobs relative to their share of population growth. In addition, natives’ losses were somewhat greater during the recession and immigrants have recovered more quickly from it. With 58 million working-age natives not working, the Schumer-Rubio bill (S.744) and similar House measures that would substantially increase the number of foreign workers allowed in the country seem out of touch with the realities of the U.S. labor market.

CIS draws three conclusions from this analysis:

  1. The long term decline in employment for native Americans across all age and education levels is a clear indication that there is no general labor shortage which is the major justification for large increases in immigration (skilled and unskilled) promoted by the Schumer-Rubio bill and other proposals.
  2. The decline in employment among the native-born over the last 14 years of high immigration is consistent with research that shows immigration reduced employment for natives.
  3. Trends since 2000 challenge the argument that immigration on balance increases job opportunities for natives. More than 17 million immigrants arrived in the U.S. in the last 14 years, yet native employment has decreased significantly.

The unemployment rate that is most meaningful is the group the BLS calls U-6. It includes those counted in U-3 unemployment plus those who indicate that they are available for jobs and have looked for work in the past 12 months, plus those who want full-time work but have had to settle for part-time work. 58 million Americans are not working. There are currently 17 million fewer working age people without a job than there were in 2000.

The article goes on at some depth and length to explain their research and its meaning. It’s a valuable study. Do read the whole thing.

High tech industries want more H-1B visas for workers from other countries. They claim that graduates in high-tech fields here are not qualified. Google has announced that they are hiring people without degrees. There are not enough STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) graduates for the needs of employers. Investigation show there are far more STEM graduates than available jobs. Tech companies say that they need highly-trained people for assuring internet security. The U.S.Chamber of Commerce wants far more immigrant visas. People say the Chamber only wants to drive down salaries. Some say American businesses will not hire those who have lost their jobs in the recession, they assume they have been fired for reason.

Companies and their human resources departments do not know how to hire people who will be an asset to their company in short order, be dependable and not give them any trouble. They have no idea. They devise all sorts of tests and questions meant to weed out the undesirable, but anyone who has worked in a business knows that they really have no clue at all. They hire someone with what seem to be excellent qualifications, and they turn out to be a jerk, someone who is a bully, or a petty thief, a compulsive liar, or not really very bright, or can’t really do the work, or have a flaming affair with a married co-worker. Salaries in the U.S. may be significantly higher than in a worker’s country of origin. Immigrant workers may accept a lower salary and be especially amenable for fear of losing their H-1B status.

The Democrats want more poor and unskilled immigrants who will become Democrat voters and may become dependent on Democrat largesse, and thus reliable votes.

Republicans are accused of hating immigrants, which is absurd. Immigrants have always been a net benefit to America. Republicans believe in assimilation, and want immigrants to become American citizens, not citizens of another country temporarily living in this country. In spite of the Great Recession, America remains the land of opportunity, and far more people want to come here than we are able to accommodate. Illegals shouldn’t be admitted ahead of those who have applied through proper channels, and obeyed the law. Our borders should be secure and well manned, and existing immigration laws should be obeyed.

The Obama administration wants open borders purely for partisan politics. The pressure on Congress to pass a more generous immigration bill is intense. The primary argument is that without it the country faces “labor shortages.” The National Restaurant Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Manufacturers, Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce all want more immigrants. That’s a lot of lobbying power. If you don’t agree with them, you should let your congressmen know what  you believe.



The Environmentalists Are Not On Your Side! by The Elephant's Child

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You have undoubtedly noticed rising prices at the grocery store. Bacon aficionados have certainly noticed. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday predicted that fruit and vegetable prices will rise by 5% to 6% this year due to lower production in California’s great Central Valley. California has just endured one of the driest  years on record— but much of the blame lies directly on extreme environmental policies.

More than half of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, most of the lettuce, berries and tomatoes come from the Central Valley. This year federal water regulators cut farmers’ allocations of water to zero because of a long bout of dry weather. Farmers had to pump groundwater, and many saved their groundwater supply for fruit and nut trees that take years to come to full production.

About 500,000 acres of land lay fallow this year. This didn’t have to happen. The state could have stored up more water from the wet years, but they flushed 800,000 acre feet into San Francisco Bay last winter and another 445,000 acre feet this spring to “safeguard” the “endangered” delta smelt, a tiny 3 inch bait fish endangered by pumping at the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta which under the Endangered Species Act must be protected at any cost. Last winter, when 300 smelt were snared in the pumps, regulators ordered that a deluge of melted snowpack from the Sierras be discharged to the ocean rather than delivered to farmers. That amount of water would have irrigated 600,000 acres of land and been enough for 3 million households.

The Endangered Species Act has an outstanding record of stopping projects, being used as evidence in endless lawsuits, costing billions, but accomplishing nothing whatsoever as far as actually “saving” endangered species. The slaughter of birds of prey, and songbirds chopped up in wind turbines or cooked in solar arrays, on the other hand, does not trump the small amounts of expensive “renewable” energy that environmentalists keep hoping will

The California Farm Bureau estimates conservatively that the average American family will spend about $500 more on food this year as a result of crackpot environmentalism. That’s added to the increased price of gas, higher electricity bills, and higher premiums on your health insurance.

ADDENDUM: There’s more. Henry I. Miller writes in the Wall Street Journal that Santa Cruz, Mendocino and Marin counties in California, have banned a proven, modern technology that could conserve vast amounts of water. The technology is genetic engineering at the molecular level, or gene splicing. Plant biologists have identified genes that regulate water use and transferred them into important plant crops. The new varieties grow with smaller amounts of water or lower-quality water, such as that higher in mineral salts. Irrigation accounts for roughly 70 percent of the world’s fresh water consumption.

In Egypt, Miller says, researchers have shown a decade ago that transferring a single gene from barley to wheat, the plants can tolerate less watering for a longer period of time. The new drought-resistant variety in some deserts can be grown with rainfall alone, and in a conventional field requires only one-eighth as much irrigation. For a country like Egypt that regularly has trouble feeding their own people, this is am enormous benefit.



A Dangerous World — The Wages of Weakness. by The Elephant's Child

Obama Profile

No president in my memory has so often referred to himself as “the President of the United States of America”or as “the Commander in Chief,” as if he needs to keep reminding everyone of his importance. Perhaps I’m being unfair. George W. Bush often said of himself “I’m the decider.” That seemed to me to be a humble statement that the troubles of the world landed on his desk and he had to make a difficult decision—whether it turned out well or ill. As I said, perhaps I’m being unfair.

But Bush was right. Decisions have to be made. We may make a decision about Iraq, but as in all conflicts, the other side gets a vote. The Obama administration has admitted that they were blindsided by the ISIS invasion of Iraq and their rapid progress. Obama is accustomed to, well, dithering. He doesn’t like foreign affairs. He likes traveling with an enormous entourage to other countries and making a speech or two, but he came to office convinced that America was a world bully, interfering in other countries, and was no more exceptional than any other country. He has followed a deliberate policy of disengaging from the world and its quarrels.

We called it “the Apology Tour” when Obama made his way around the world bowing to foreign rulers and apologizing for our influence in world affairs. Democrats were offended at the name, but is that really what Democrats believe, that we should fail to assert a positive influence over world events? Or have they remained too enamored with Obama himself to have given it much thought? The world clearly expects more American leadership. Many countries have not done much about raising a military or acquiring major weapons because we were there.

Obama drew a red line that did not faze Assad, turned the Syrian bloodbath over to Vladimir Putin, which undoubtedly led the Russian president to launch his claim on the Crimea and his aggression against Ukraine. Obama frequently cites polls showing American “war weariness,” but just what is meant by that is not clear. America had won the War in Iraq, and Obama just wanted out. As Elliott Abrams said:

 So we got out, fully, completely, cleanly—unless you ask about the real world of Iraq instead of the imaginary world of campaign speeches. We could no longer play the role we had played in greasing relations between Kurds, Shia and Sunnis, and in constraining Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s sectarian excesses. The result was an Iraq spinning downward into the kind of Sunni-Shia confrontation we had paid so dearly to stop in 2007 and 2008, and ISIS—the newest moniker for al Qaeda in Iraq—saw its chance, and took it.

So we’re back in Iraq—Obama has sent 300 military advisers. That’s a very small number.

I’m inclined to believe that just as members of a family have trouble getting along, so the natural state of world affairs is not peace and harmony. That doesn’t mean that we must be eternally engaged in war. Weakness invites ambitious nations to act on their ambitions.

Putin has long regarded the collapse of the Soviet Union as a disaster and wants to restore its position as a world power. The Mullahs in Iran are quite clear about their ambitions regarding the Great Satan and the Little Satan. The newly enriched and increasingly dangerous fanatics of ISIS have already warned that they will see us in New York. Germany has said the United States must consider a renewed military intervention. “It’s the Americans’ task to deal with security in Iraq.” The  French place the direct cause of the Iraqi implosion on Obama’s decision to back off from air strikes against the Assad regime last August as the fatal step.

Here are some excellent pieces on our current dilemma:



The Supreme Court Slapped Obama Down Again. He Just Plans More Executive Orders. by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration’s position has been defeated in at least thirteen cases before the Supreme Court since January 2012. These were all unanimous decisions. The Court ruled that the president does not get to decide when the Senate is in recess. A recess is the period when Congress is in recess between one congress and the next. The Court unanimously rejected the law establishing abortion-clinic “buffer zones” against pro-life protesters, and the administration argument that a search warrant wasn’t required for the government to look at cell-phone records and data was rejected.

Normally, the Justice Department wins about 70 percent of its cases, but in each of the last three terms, the Court has ruled against the administration a majority of the time. John Fund quotes George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin:”When the administration loses significant cases in unanimous decisions and cannot even hold the votes of its own appointees…it is an indication that they adopted such an extreme position on the scope of federal power that even generally sympathetic judges could not even support it.”

John Fund adds:

Those decisions are very revealing about the views of President Obama and Eric Holder: Their vision is one of unchecked federal power on immigration and environmental issues, on presidential prerogatives, and the taking of private property by the government; hostility to First Amendment freedoms that don’t meet the politically correct norms; and disregard of Fourth Amendment protections against warrantless government intrusion. These are positions that should alarm all Americans regardless of their political views, political-party affiliations, or background.

The president clearly has no intention of slowing his reliance on executive authority. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest earnestly explained that the Obama administration was getting impatient with Congress.

We’re not just going to sit around and wait interminably for Congress.

The president has given his Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson the job of figuring out what options are available to address the problems that have been created by our broken  immigration system. Well, yes, when the president encourages young people from Central America to come to America where they will not be deported it creates more problems than he expected. They’re finding it difficult to locate places to put the influx.

It is the Obama administration that has told the Border Patrol not to detain illegals, and defer deportations, and has released illegal immigrants who have been convicted of criminal violations. And who has refused to man the border, but it is Congress that is not dealing with our broken immigration system. It’s just the president who has made it “broken.”

“This administration does not learn constitutional lessons. It continues marching until it meets resistance. And it hasn’t met nearly enough,” said Charles Krauthammer.



The Official Foreign Policy of the Obama Admistration by The Elephant's Child

This is actually a clip from the British comedy series “Yes, Minister,” but it seems so precisely applicable, and funny, that I couldn’t resist. The comedy that captures accurately the foibles of humanity is always the best, though we like the comedy of the other guy’s foibles better than when our own are exposed.



The House Will Sue The President For Failing To Observe The Separation of Powers. by The Elephant's Child

Budget Talks Deteriorate Amid Republican Identity Shift On Tax Increases
House Speaker John Boehner told his colleagues on Wednesday that the House of Representatives will sue the executive branch of the government to defend the Constitution’s separation of powers. The Speaker, said the Wall Street Journal, is showing more care that the laws be faithfully executed as the Constitution demands than is President Obama.

The Congress, Mr. Boehner said in his memo to the House, is suffering institutional injury  under Mr. Obama’s “aggressive unilateralism” which is a pretty fair description of his governing philosophy. When the president suspends or rewrites laws across health care, drug policy, immigration laws, and so much else— elected legislators are stripped of their constitutional role.

The basic reason behind this step is Mr. Obama’s flagrant contempt for regular political order. For example, he has unilaterally revised, delayed or reinterpreted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on his own thirty-eight times.

Everyone would prefer that the Congress and the President would settle their disputes through the customary political debates and arguments. House members represent the people of their district by population, and are closest to the public for they must face reelection every two years. A senator represents a whole state. The president represents all the people of the country. It was designed by the Founders to slow things down, so that poorly considered laws were not enacted in haste, in the hopes that would result in better law.

In the current climate, potential laws are not getting through Congress. The lapdog media would blame it all on the Republicans, but the blame lies directly in the hands of the Majority Leader of the Senate—who refuses to allow laws passed by the House to even be voted on. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.

The Founders did not consider the possibility that a future president might pay no attention to his oath of office, or just take the law into his own hands. They assumed that a president’s honor and character would mean that even when he disagreed, he would abide by the rules.

“The major reason to involve the judiciary in this case is Mr. Obama’s flagrant contempt for the regular political order,” said the Wall Street Journal.

This president does not feel restrained by the Constitution that he swore to uphold. When Congress will not pass the laws that he wants, as he has said, “I’ve got a phone and a pen.” He will just take action on his own by “executive order.”All presidents have used executive orders from time to time, but none have ever used executive orders to rewrite laws duly passed and signed into law.

Far from a partisan caper, this implicates the foundation of the U.S. political architecture. The courts generally presume that individual Members of Congress lack the “standing” to make a legal challenge, but Mr. Obama is stealing inherent Article I powers that no party other than Congress can vindicate. Mr. Boehner said he will seek a House vote authorizing the lawsuit and put it under the direction of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group.

A single Congressman may not have standing, but Congress has the institutional standing to sue the president and are thus asking a constitutional question that has not been joined at the courts. More than a few judges and Supreme Court Justices seem to be concerned that Mr. Obama’s conduct is undermining the rule of law and political accountability. Just this week, the Supreme Court slapped down the EPA for defying the plain language of the law in the name of anti-carbon policy. More rebukes may be coming with cases about recess appointments and the ObamaCare contraception mandate.

Last summer, Mr. Obama proclaimed that “in a normal political environment” he’s ask Congress to fix laws such as ObamaCare, but since the House disagrees with his priorities, he’ll just go ahead and fix them himself without legislative consent. But then again, the president can hardly get through normal comments to the press without proclaiming that he is the President of the United States or The Commander in Chief. President Bush often said that “he was the Decider,” but that was not a proclamation of his importance, but a humble expression of the weight of the decisions that he must make. There’s a significant difference.

Thanks to Mr. Boehner, the courts will get a chance to weigh in on whether Mr. Obama or his successors can exercise imperial powers.

 



Obama’s Scandals: Not Funny Anymore. by The Elephant's Child

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has chimed in on the IRS “Lost Emails Scandal:

  • Lew: “Sometimes a broken hard drive is just a broken hard drive.”

From Zero Hedge: “perhaps the NY Post put it best: The thing about dogs eating homework is, it could actually happen. This can’t. This is “The dog ate my hard drive, broke into another building, ate the backup of the hard drive, then broke into six other top officials’ offices and ate their hard drives also.”

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The Dog Ate the EPA’s Homework Too! And the Evidence. by The Elephant's Child

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Now it’s the EPA!. The Environmental Protection Agency has joined the IRS is claiming they cannot produce incriminating information from their computers because of a 2010 computer crash. Hey, it’s working for the IRS. Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) threatens to hold the EPA in contempt of Congress if it fails to turn over subpoenaed communications with the White House— subpoenaed in November.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy confirmed to the House Oversight Committee Wednesday that her staff is unable to provide lawmakers all of the documents they have requested on the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, because of a 2010 computer crash.

“We’re having trouble getting the data off of it and we’re trying other sources to actually supplement that,” McCarthy said. “We’re challenged in figuring out where those small failures might have occurred and what caused them occur, but we’ve produced a lot of information.”

The revelation came less than two weeks after IRS officials told Congress that Lois Lerner, the official at the center of the controversy over the targeting of conservative tax-exempt groups, also suffered from a hard drive crash that makes it difficult to comply with records requests.

The House Oversight Committee has reason to suspect that Philip North, who worked for the EPA in Alaska decided in 2009 that the proposed Pebble Mine near Bristol Bay should not be allowed, before the agency even began to investigate if there were any negative effects on the environment. Committee staffers have been trying to interview North for over a year, but he has been in New Zealand and refuses to cooperate.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) said the Federal Records Act requires agencies to maintain all records, which includes emails. Administrator McCarthy admitted “we may have some emails that we cannot produce that we should have kept.”

Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology has questioned EPA Administrator McCarthy’s assertion that the debate on how much the climate is changing, the role of humans if any, is over, and no one should question her agency’s actions, or the “confidentail research” it uses to justify multimillion and billion dollar clean air rules. If you question that you are racist, a denier at war with science.

This should alarm every citizen. The EPA funds the scientific research it uses to support the regulations it issues. The EPA has issued 2,827 new final regulations since Obama took office on January 20 , 2009. The EPA picks the usually agency-funded, but supposedly independent scientists  who review the regulations. When the regulations are challenged, the courts defer to the agency on the science. But the agency refuses to make public the scientific research it uses.

The House Science Committee has passed The Secret Science Reform Act which requires that EPA regulation should be based on legitimate science and data that are open to the public.

Gina McCarthy sees this as a threat. Speaking to the National Academy of Sciences in April, she defended her agency’s need to “protect data from those who are not qualified to analyze it. So the EPA decides who get to look at the “scientific research they use, research paid for with public funds, appropriated by Congerss on behalf of American taxpayers.  Unbelievable.

In the announcement of the EPA’s 645 page Clean Power Plan, Ms. McCarthy claimed “The science is clear. The risks are clear. And the high costs of climate inaction keep piling up.”

The Institute  for Energy Research says “The EPA’s Power Plant Rule: All Economic Costs; No Climate Benefits.”

On June 2, 2014, at President Obama’s direction, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed rule mandating carbon dioxide emission cuts for existing power plants. This rule is designed to comply with the president’s plan to make electricity rates “necessarily skyrocket” by reducing the use of coal-fired electricity generation from existing power plants—one of the cheapest sources of electricity generation. While the rule will result in increasing electricity rates, the rule will not have any material climate benefit despite the fact that the climate is the justification for the rule.

Just one more crooked government agency, abusing the public trust, recklessly issuing regulations to accrue power to itself.

Being enpowered by Congress to keep the navigable waters of the United States clean, they have attempted to control any discharge of water in the drainage ditches beside the road, in the flow of rainwater as part of the “navigable waters” because that water would eventually flow into something navigable since all wates eventually flow to the sea.

President Obama’s misguided effort to shut down coal-fired  power plants will not only “skyrocket” electricity rates, but will make every product made in the United States cost more. These efforts will garner him Tom Steyer’s promised 100 million, but cost the American economy another lost 200,000 jobs.  And what happens when winters get colder and people can’t afford to heat their homes?

It is all about politics, and only about politics. Obama has brought Chicago politics to the federal government. Crony capitalism. Give your donors what they want, spend the money to stay in control and reward your donors and repeat endlessly, as it all slips gradually into totalitarianism and one party rule.




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