American Elephants


How to Talk About The Border Crisis — Even to a Liberal. by The Elephant's Child

childhood-immigration-flood-620x396
Everyone talks about “comprehensive immigration reform” but fails to explain just what they mean by the term. And to no one’s surprise, they don’t mean the same thing at all. Mark Krikorian, who heads the Center for Immigration Studies wrote today:

The president’s framing of the unprecedented surge of illegal aliens turning themselves into border officials in the expectation of being allowed to stay in the United States, as an “urgent humanitarian situation”, is only partially correct. The phase is designed to misdirect public attention away from the more damming truths of the surge; it is equally, if not more so, a crisis of enforcement, governing, and the president’s responsibility carry out his oath of office. It is an ethical issue for the public as well as the president.

None of these considerations are captured or even suggested by the administration’s preferred phasing. Nor are they meant to do so.

At City Journal, Myron Magnet points out that there are really two immigration debates. Three billionaires writing in the New York Times want more immigrants with  advanced degrees and investment capital. Silicon Valley magnates want more H1-B visas for tech PhDs, though Magnet has noticed that some of these very magnates have conspired to fix the wages of their highly qualified engineers by forming illegal non-competitive hiring pacts, so who knows what the real demand for high tech skills is? According to other sources we have more STEM graduates than there are STEM jobs. Magnet says:

But this argument has nothing whatever to do with the massed children at our southern border, admitted through a foolish loophole unintentionally created by the Bush administration and exploited by the Obama regime as a way of changing the character of the American people, both by enlarging the underclass whom Democrats can claim it is their mission to rescue with ever more generous welfare programs, and by creating yet more Democratic voters, if these kids ever become citizens—or if they become anchor babies who can then legally bring in their parents and siblings under our existing, and harmful, family-unification immigration policy.

Victor Davis Hanson says that “The last thing a liberal proponent of immigration reform wants is liberal immigration reform. Remember that paradox, and the insanity at the border makes some sense.

In truth, no one in the open-borders coalition wants anything approaching comprehensive immigration reform. Advocates are embarrassed about the present mess at the border not because thousands of foreign nationals, many of them unescorted children and teens, from Latin America, without skills or education, are flocking illegally across the border after largely taking the amnesty cue from Barack Obama, but because they are doing so in such dramatic fashion that the influx has aroused the ire and worry of the American people and exposed illegal immigration to be a callous and illiberal enterprise, promoted by a coalition of self-interested political operatives, commercial concerns, and ethnic chauvinists. …

Such legislation would first have to make border security the top priority. And that would entail three unpalatable requisites.

The first step would be the completion of the fence. Fences do work. That is why, for example, former mayor of Los Angeles and open-borders advocate Antonio Villaraigosa (“We don’t need to build walls, we need to build bridges”) became the first mayor in Los Angeles history to insist on a six-foot-high security fence around his official mayoral residence in Windsor Square, or why the White House, the homes of Silicon Valley billionaires, and the vacation homes of the elite on Martha’s Vineyard all have security fences. How odd that we are lectured about the Neanderthal nature of secure borders by elites who are about the only ones in America who demand them around their own estates.

Then turn back all who crossed illegally, and let that be known. Until deterrence is established, more guards on the border. Then meritocratic legal immigration, ethnically blind and predicated on merit rather than on proximity to the southern border. If just 10 percent of the existing resident-alien pool had criminal records or no record of gainful employment that would mean 1 or 2 million would have to be deported.

And finally, a piece I have mentioned before” “How to Think About Immigration” by Kevin D. Williamson.

The influx of children across our southern border is troubling. First, because they are not all children—not by a sight—but images of children are useful for stirring emotions to muddy the policy waters. Second, because it is not all that unusual; As the Wall street Journal reports, between 23,000 and 47,000 minors illegally entered the United States and were apprehended in each of the past five years; in 2013, we ordered only 3s,525 deportations, suggesting that something on the order of nine in ten, or more, of minor illegal aliens—again, of the number apprehended—are allowed to stay. The number not apprehended is very large, the number of non-minors is very large, and that is how we find ourselves with not millions but tens of millions of illegal aliens resident in these United States.

None of these pieces are long. Read all four and you are well-equipped for an argument with anyone — even a liberal.



An EPA Power Grab for Your Property Rights! by The Elephant's Child

The headline read “EPA pulls back from plan to garnish paychecks.” That particular plan was announced quietly an a Friday right before the 4th of July, the way agencies do when they want no one to notice. But I spotted it and wrote about it on the 8th. This administration has so many agencies and departments overstepping the bounds that it’s hard to pick a worst, but the EPA is right at the top of the list, for sheer crookedness.

The Washington Times reported last Wednesday that:

The Environmental Protection Agency bowed to fierce criticism Wednesday and announced that it had hit the brakes on a fast-tracked plan to collect fines by garnishing paychecks of accused polluters.

I was so pleased that I got up and did a little dance around my computer. But then I read the following paragraph:

The agency, which has come under withering attacks from Republican lawmakers for attempting a “power grab,” said it still intended to pursue the new authority to garnish wages without a court order. But now it will follow a more typical and longer review process.           

Opponents of the wage-garnish rule applauded EPA’s decision. But the EPA vowed to press on with its plan to snatch fines directly out of Americans’ paychecks.   (emphasis added)

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee who had battled the proposed rule said, “It’s about time this abuse-prone agency listened to Congress and backtrack on a rule that was clearly an egregious power grab to garnish private citizen’s wages.” Doesn’t sound like they are listening.

This rule (published as close to secrecy as a federal agency can manage) was issued on July 2 in a notice in the Federal Register as a “direct final rule” that would automatically take effect on September 2 unless the EPA received adverse public comment by August 1.

The only improvement seems to be that since they received  comments, they have extended the comment period until September 2. They claim they are required to participate in Treasury’s debt-collection program — the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (one of Bill Clinton’s) to garnish wages.

What or who gives them the authority to levy fines of, in the case of Wyoming welder Andy Johnson for building a pond on his property, $75,000 a day. That’s up from the fine they imposed on the Sacketts for their supposed “wetland” on a standard residential lot overlooking Priest Lake in Idaho, which was $37,500 a day and they said the Sacketts could contest their action legally. The Supreme Court slapped down the EPA for that one, and made sure the Sacketts got their day in court.

It apparently was revealed in a remark by an EPA official back in 2012. He said:

I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff…the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean.  They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.

Ans so you make examples of people who are in this case not compliant with the law. Find people who are not compliant with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there.

And companies that are smart see that they don’t want to play that game and they decide at that point that it’s time to clean up.

And, that won’t happen unless you have somebody out there making examples of people. So you go out, you look at an industry, you find people violating the law, you go aggressively after them. And we do have some pretty effective enforcement tools. Compliance can get very high, very, very quickly.

That’s apparently what those enormous fines are supposed to be about— making the accused so terrified that they will comply immediately and sow terror in the heart of anyone else messing with air, water, soil or plants and animals in any way, though they’ve gone after people for picking up arrowheads as well.

The public lands do not, in my opinion, belong to — the government — but to the people, and we allow the government to manage it for us. Property rights are one of the most fundamental bastions of liberty. When a federal agency tramples all over American citizens’ property rights, it’s time to sit up and take notice.



Now They Want to Make You Eat Your Vegetables if You Are On Food Stamps! by The Elephant's Child

I have often referred to Liberals as “the perpetually discontented.” They have no acceptance of the ordinary foibles of the human race, and they really, really don’t want anyone to disagree with them. Their reactions to those who do disagree, range from calling you a racist, to trying to get you fired, or arrested. I suspect the reason is that they are not sure enough of their own arguments to be confident of defeating you in a debate, thus they want to end any possible debate and just get rid of you.

They have told us in many leftist venues that they don’t have principles like the Republicans do, but react to events on a case-by-case basis. They think that’s a good thing. While Republicans are talking about principles and how they apply to the world as it is, Liberals are nitpicking and regulating and trying to pass laws to make Republicans more tolerable.

They don’t seem to have a very good opinion of the very people they claim they are trying to help. Those who are unemployed are viewed as mostly unemployable or they wouldn’t have lost their jobs. Those who are on food stamps are fat, lazy and don’t know how to properly spend their food stamps. More vegetables, more fruit, more whole grains!!

“The USDA  (Department of Agriculture) is suggesting major changes to grocery stores to “nudge” Americans to purchase healthier foods when they shop.

The agency commissioned an “expert panel” to make recommendations on how to guide the more than 47 million Americans on food stamps into spending their benefits on fruits and vegetables.

The group released an 80-page report this month presenting their ideas, which include talking shopping carts and a marketing strategy for grocery chains that would feature better store lighting for healthier items.

“Most Americans, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants, do not purchase enough whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, and legumes, and purchase too many items with excess calories from fats and added sugars,” the report said.

The report estimated that the new carts might cost as much as $30,000 per store. And they would like to rearrange the stores, change how stores stock and display their items. Improve the lighting, create “healthy aisles”. There is no end to the poking and prodding they would like to do in the interest of making sure that people don’t buy junk food with their food stamps.

Why is it that liberals are so intent on forcing everyone to adhere to their ideas of what is correct? It’s that little tyrant that lurks in their very souls, trying desperately to get out.

At the turn of the 21st century, there were 138,049 pages in the Code of Federal Regulations. At the end of 2013, there were 175,906. The George W. Bush administration added 2,490 pages a year. During the first five years of the Obama administration they have added 3,504 pages a year. Granted, some regulations are longer than others. But there are costs to comply with regulations — and those costs can be a real drag on the economy. When the economy shrank to a minus 2.9 percent in the first quarter, it was blamed on the weather. More likely, it was ObamaCare. Health and Human Services added 1,296 pages of new regulations just before the Fourth of July holiday.

The Federal Reserve considers that there is little inflation, but they don’t shop for groceries. People are shocked to find that their ObamaCare premiums have gone up by 40%. The White House reveled in the June jobs numbers which seemed to be really up, but the increase was all in part-time jobs, accounting for all the people who were cut back to less than thirty hours. So now they all work two jobs. That is excess regulation, liberals controlling your lives, improving you—so they will like the improved you better. You know its not going to work.



Nevermind the Fire, That Truck Might Be Emitting CO2! by The Elephant's Child

 sequoia-forest-fire-505503-sw

The president has asked Congress for an additional $3.7 billion to “comprehensively address this urgent humanitarian situation” at the border. The request includes $615 million for emergency wildfire suppression activities operations starting in 2015.

Fire season is upon us, and there are fires burning in California, Oregon and Washington state, but perhaps, the Wall Street Journal says, the Obama administration could start by getting its own agencies off the firefighters’ backs. The Defense Department has had a fit of environmental consciousness which is disrupting disaster efforts in peak wildfire season.

The Pentagon decided to suspend the program that supplies federal equipment to states for fighting wildfires. DOD suspended the program because the equipment did not meet the latest federal emissions standards. Emissions? in the case of wildfires? Emitting, spewing CO² by the ton and they are worried the EPA will come after them for tailpipes that aren’t up to date? Forest fires are major air-polluting events. You can see and smell the smoke for miles and miles.

There are two programs, the Federal Excess Personal Property Program and the Firefighter Property Program that each year loan local firefighting units more than $150 million of equipment that the federal government no longer needs. Involved are trucks, pumps, generators, engine parts and are a lifeline for small all-volunteer fire departments that can’t afford $500,000 for a new tanker. The vast majority of the wildfires that local units fight are on public lands.

The DOD suspended the transfer of trucks and generators, many of which were made for the military with diesel engines that don’t meet the EPA’s latest emissions standards. The Defense Logistics Agency realized they weren’t abiding by a decades-old agreement with the EPA to abide by the standards of the Clean Air Act. So naturally they just suspended the program.

Well, enormous outcry, forests burning, the DOD decided the EPA grants a “national-security” exception to the standards rules for transferred military equipment. The agencies have decided the  program restart should come with —new regulations— including the requirement that local firefighters track and return every piece of equipment so the feds can destroy them.

Good grief. Don’t let a diesel truck emit any carbon while fighting a thousand-acre forest fire. Priorities. The Bureaucrat is required to follow the rules of the bureaucracy, and not ask annoying questions. When it gets this bad, you know the government is too big to function.



Another Big Power Grab From The Rogue EPA! by The Elephant's Child

Right before the July 4th weekend, when nobody was paying attention, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has added a new regulatory weapon to its arsenal.

In a Federal Register notice on July 2, (you always check the Federal Register right before a 3-day weekend, don’t you?) the EPA stated that by the authority of the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) of 1996 it had issued a proposed rule that “will allow the EPA to garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order.” According to the Treasury Department, under DCIA, such debts include “unpaid loans, overpayments or duplicate payments made to federal salary or benefit payment recipients, misused grant funds, and fines, penalties or fees assessed by federal agencies.

The EPA explains that, “Prior to the enactment of the DCIA, Federal agencies were required to obtain a court judgment before garnishing non-Federal wages. Section 31001(o) of the DCIA preempts State laws that prohibit wage garnishment or otherwise govern wage garnishment procedures.” It’s worth repeating just part of the list of debts for which wages may be garnished under the DCIA: “fines, penalties or fees assessed by federal agencies.”The EPA rule also states that, “we view this as a noncontroversial action and anticipate no adverse comment.” Consequently, the rule continues, “This direct final rule is effective September 2, 2014 without further notice unless EPA receives adverse comments by August 1, 2014.” (emphasis added)

Andy Johnson is a local welder in Unita County, Wyoming. The EPA has issued an “administrative order” that he destroy a pond he painstakingly built on his own property or face $75,000 a day, for violating the Clean Water Act.  This is the same amount that the EPA was threatening the Sacketts with, after they declared the lot where the Sacketts were building their home between two lots that already had homes, a wetland. The EPA claimed the couple could not even challenge their ruling, they just had to pay it. That one went to the Supreme Court where the Sacketts won a unanimous decision.

Mr. Johnson’s pond is not polluted, wildlife enjoy it, it is on Mr. Johnson’s own property and he even sought regulatory approval from the state for his private effort to improve the environment. But he did not get a permit from the Corps of Engineers, and thus finds himself under the heavy thumb of the EPA. The EPA claims jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act which gives the EPA jurisdiction over the navigable waters of the United States. This is where it gets remarkably dicey. Mr. Johnson’s stock pond (there are exemptions for stock ponds) takes water from Six Mile Creek, a perennial tributary of the Blacks Fork River, which is a tributary of the Green River “which is and was at all relevant times a navigable, interstate water of the United States.” The fact that waters from Six Mile Creek might eventually flow into the Green River, does not make Six Mile Creek navigable waters. The EPA has been anxious to claim jurisdiction under that law back to every stream, rivulet, and trickle that eventually flows into their navigable waters. Your downspouts may be next, if they get away with this.

The EPA has ordered Mr. Johnson to submit within 30 days a plan prepared by a consultant that asses the impact and provides a restoration plan and a schedule that requires all restoration work to be completed within 60 days of the plan’s approval.Three Senators have fired off a letter to the EPA, and as the EPA gave Mr. Johnson only ten calendar days to respond to their compliance order, suggested that the EPA respond to them within a similar timeline.

The EPA said that if it receives no adverse comments by August 1. the direct final rule will go into effect. Which would give them free rein to go after whoever they choose and garnish their wages without a court ruling — which in a free society should be unthinkable. This rogue agency has been slapped down by the courts over and over, but keeps seeking more power. I am only partially kidding about your downspouts. I would suggest that you submit an adverse comment.  These power grabs need to be stopped in their infancy. Here’s a model from the Heritage Foundation.



The Affordable Care Act May Not Be Affordable. Who Knew? by The Elephant's Child

The Health and Human Services inspector general has been busy. Two new audits reveal failures in ObamaCare on an astounding scale. There are unresolved discrepancies, rules violations and technology problems that expose taxpayers to unknown costs.  They bit off more than they could chew.

The HHS inspector general found 2.9 million “inconsistencies” in applications that were submitted to the federal Health Care.gov exchange during the first five months of open enrollment. “Inconsistencies” refers to things like Social Security numbers that don’t match government data, income data, family size, and citizenship that don’t check out. Around 1.3 million of the problems dealt with citizenship. An additional million involved declared income.

The inspector general was unable to resolve these “discrepancies” because the ObamaCare “eligibility was not fully operational.” In other words, who knows if the applicants were eligible to receive ObamaCare at all? Or if they are eligible are they getting the right subsidies? Are they even citizens?

Only 6 million had filled out applications by the end of February, and only 2.6 million had enrolled. Of the 300,000 problems that HHS was capable of resolving, it had only managed to clear up for just 10,000.

Eleven states ran exchanges, and had problems with 34% of the applications they had received — a total of 422,772 problems. They didn’t say if they had resolved any. The federal exchange and two state exchanges didn’t have adequate internal controls to make sure taxpayers were protected from fraud and abuse.

To top that all off, the government hasn’t been reconciling its enrollment numbers with insurance companies to account for dropouts and cancellations. Who knows how many are actually enrolled, or how many people believe they are enrolled and are not? And how many have tried to get coverage to which they are not entitled?

In the private sector, there would be criminal charges and a lot of self-important people would be heading to jail.

The president has changed the law, changed due dates, changed requirement and delayed one thing and another. How that plays out I don’t know. It’s probably one of those —”after the election” things he is so fond of.

If I understand correctly, he has promised the insurance companies that the government would (taxpayers would) bail them out if they came up short. What that means I don’t know.



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

79051_3d21df29a81051fb28d7418d151e6e76_cb37c2db3224b681d31d49b3d1206d71

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.



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

gina_mccarthy_20140602

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.



Obama Says Borders More Secure Than Ever, Ninety Thousand Unaccompanied Children are Republican’s Fault. by The Elephant's Child

IllegalImmigrantsDeathTrain

The Department of Homeland Security will not say how many illegals they are releasing into the U.S. What seemed like a good idea in advance of the election to please Hispanic voters turned into a flood of “unaccompanied children” that seem to be mostly not “unaccompanied children” but teen-aged young men, many gang members.

Ninety thousand young illegals are expected by the end of the year, and 150,000 next year. Major boo-boo by the Obama administration. Joe Biden was sent to Guatemala City to tell officials to stop telling people that kids or mothers with young children could get into the U.S. free. He got lectured on how U.S. immigration policies should be more accommodating, and don’t even think of returning them.  So far only 3 percent of OTM (other than Mexican) apprehensions are being repatriated to their home countries.

Many are being shipped to various military bases. Warehouses are being retrofitted. DHS is ordering large quantities of men’s underwear, mostly extra-large, destined for El Paso, Texas.

According to the Associated Press, the Obama administration has released into the U.S. over 40,000 illegal immigrant families. Officials directly familiar with the issue, including at the Department of Homeland Security, won’t say publicly how many they have released, though the government clearly knows the number. The Obama administration doesn’t want to reveal  “politically sensitive information” that might influence policy debates. That’s in addition to the 52,000 “children.’ The government cannot immediately repatriate them, so they have released them and told them to report back in fifteen days. The only detention facility for immigrant families, is in Berks County Pennsylvania, and houses only 100 family members.

On five separate occasions, administration officials have refused to answer questions about the number of families released into the general population, so they clearly don’t want the American people to know.

La Prensa Gráfica in El Salvador and La Prensa in Honduras have highlighted the Obama administration’s  announcement last week of additional “free legal services” for undocumented minors who illegally cross the U .S. border. “We’re taking a  historic step to strengthen our justice system and protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of society,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said upon announcing the aid.

El Periódico, another Guatemalan newspaper reports that among the initial Central American minors housed at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, two-thirds are from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, while 12% are Mexican. About 80% of the minors are male and 83% are over age 14.

None of this is Obama’s fault. After previously saying that America’s borders are more secure than ever, the White House blamed Republicans for “apparent holes along the southern boundary, evidenced by the flood of unaccompanied children streaming into the U .S. from Mexico, Central America and Elsewhere(?). New White House press secretary Josh Earnest challenged Republicans that if they are truly concerned about border security to back the comprehensive immigration reform package that passed the Senate last year and is strongly supported by President Obama. “Mr. Earnest also said the administration has made a “historic commitment” to border security over the past five years.” He may turn out to be even funnier than Jay Carney.



ObamaCare: Fewer Enrollees, Higher Costs. by The Elephant's Child

The ObamaCare Exchanges are “disappointing” with fewer than 4 million newly insured. The Obama administration had hoped for 26 million. In April, President Obama told the nation that “marketplace” or “exchange” enrollments at 8 million customers as of March 31, had exceeded expectations and were lower than expected. The media blithely accepted the “selectively released statistics”, in spite of the administration’s habit of providing incomplete information.

The White House has not released any enrollment figures in the last 2½ months, nor do they plan to issue any updates soon. Hmmn. Government numbers included 20 percent of enrollees who did not pay their premiums. Estimates of how many were previously uninsured range from about one-third to more than half. Some who were forced out of their existing coverage find themselves having to re-enroll at much higher rates than before.

Some insurers have increased their rates by 35 percent to bring their rates into compliance with ObamaCare. So you have people with (perhaps) more benefits but for 35% more premium.

Coverage expansion in the ACA are estimated to increase federal spending by $1.383 trillion over the next two decades. Economist Greg Mankiw has estimated that the ACA or ObamaCare will reduce long run GDP in the U.S. by 5%. He insists that it is a rough estimate. University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan says the Affordable Care Act added “about six percentage points to the marginal tax rate faced, on average, by workers in the economy. A useful rule of thumb is that taxation of $1 means that 20¢ of economic activity just never takes place.

Rates will increase significantly for next year. ObamaCare, as expected, is going to cost way more than it was planned to cost.



Poor Care at VA Hospitals Cost 1,000 Veterans Their Lives by The Elephant's Child

Veterans Medical Care

The problems at Veterans Affairs extended far beyond long wait lists. A report today showed the department is plagued with poor care that has cost up to 1.000 veterans their lives, and left American taxpayers on the hook for nearly $1 billion in malpractice settlements since 2003.

Senator Tom Coburn reports that “the problems at the VA are worse than anyone imagined.” Dozens of veterans have died while stuck on secret waiting lists at a VA facility in Phoenix. An inspector general’s investigation has found widespread misuse of secret wait lists in a number of facilities.

Senator Coburn’s report, titled “Friendly Fire: Death, Delay and Dismay at the VA,” argues that problems go back well beyond the Phoenix scandal and run far deeper than phony wait lists and scheduling practices designed to demonstrate that managers were meeting their performance goals. His report details dreadful cases.

A Philadelphia vet went in for a tooth extraction. Doctors went ahead despite his dangerously low blood pressure. On the way home from the operation, he had a stroke and was paralyzed. A vet in South Carolina had to wait nine months for a colonoscopy. By the time he had the procedure, he was diagnosed with stage three  cancer. The VA admitted  that had he been treated earlier his case might not have been so severe. Another veteran had annual chest X-rays, but doctors never spotted a growing lesion in his lung. It ultimately killed him.

Some legislators recommended more financing, as usual, but the problem can be traced back to bad management and lax working standards, not to lack of money. In one finding, Coburn said, VA doctors average about half the workload that private-practice primary care physicians do.  He added:

Female patients received unnecessary pelvic and breast exams from a sex offender.  The VA is way behind on processing disability claims and constructing facilities. Some VA health care providers have lost their medical licenses, but the VA hid that information from patients. The federal government has paid out $845 million for VA medical malpractice settlements since 2001.

A security chief, Richard Meltz, head of security at the Bedford VA Medical Center pleaded guilty in January in involvement in what the FBI called “two sadistic kidnapping, rape and murder conspiracies.” He also advised two others on how to avoid being tracked, such as not using toll roads, and where to dump bodies.

The FBI says it has opened a criminal investigation of the Veterans Affairs Department. The Bureau’s Phoenix office has joined an ongoing review by the VA inspector General.

Somme of the reasons for the chronic problems include a bonus system that rewarded managers for meeting goals regarding access to treatment. The audit findings, covering 731 VA facilities nationwide and based on interviews with more than 3,700 staff members, said a 14-day goal instituted by the Obama administration, for providing care to newly enrolled veterans proved “simply not attainable” due to growing demand and lack of capacity. “Imposing this expectation the field before ascertaining the resources required represent an organizational leadership failure.

The audit portrayed 57,436 newly enrolled veterans facing a minimum 90-day wait for medical care, 63,869 veterans who enrolled over the past decade requesting an appointment that never happened. A patient who had been admitted for “significant and chronic mental health issues” lived in the 106 bed facility for eight years before he received his first psychiatric evaluation.

Well meaning bureaucrats had no other way to measure the effectiveness of VA Hospital care—than wait times, so they gave them 14 days maximum wait time for a veteran to be seen by a medical professional. That’s the way it works in large government bureaucracies.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,506 other followers

%d bloggers like this: