American Elephants


Dave Allen, on “Children” by The Elephant's Child

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.



Dave Allen On Supermarkets by The Elephant's Child
July 20, 2014, 6:53 am
Filed under: Entertainment, Humor, United Kingdom | Tags: , ,

Dave Allen is a British comedian, and brilliant. British supermarkets may be a bit different, but if you shop in a grocery, you will recognize some of your own angst in his performance. He has his audience in the palm of his hnd.



The Strange Ways of Hamas Militants by The Elephant's Child

Thomas Lifson at American Thinker has a brief column demonstrating an amazing run of bad luck. Pictures from Israel show that the same family that was killed in Syria by Bashar Assad, was unfortunately also killed by IDF bombing in Gaza just a few days ago.
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(Click to enlarge)
The Hamas Interior Ministry has released guidelines for how activists should describe Palestinian war casualties. Some excerpts translated by Memri read:

Any one killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or  Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank. Don’t forget to always add “innocent civilian” or “innocent citizen” in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Begin [your reports of] news or resistance actions with the phrase “In response to the cruel Israeli attack” and conclude with the phrase “This any people have been martyred since Israel launched its aggression against Gaza.” Be sure to always perpetuate the principle of “the role of the occupation is attack, and we in Palestine are fulfilling [the role of] the reaction”

Avoid entering into a political argument with a Westerner aimed at convincing him that the Holocaust is a lie and deceit; instead, equate it with Israel’s crimes against Palestinian civilians.

Hamas has a long track record of using mosques, as well as schools and hospitals for storage of its rockets and weapons. They are quite effective at propaganda, and many seem to buy the idea that Israel is the evil country. The use of language is carefully constructed: “refugee camps,” “occupied territories.” Israel is probably the only country in the world that warns civilians in advance to evacuate an area where a bomb in going to strike a Hamas rocket storage site. Hamas brags of 16.000 rockets ready to strike Israel. As Benjamin Netanyahu said:

The difference between us is simple. We develop defensive systems in order to protect our civilians and they use their civilians to protect their missiles.

“The strong Israeli response is focused on eliminating the rocket-launching sites, military facilities in genera, Hamas militants, and the underground tunnels on the Egyptian border that have been used to smuggle arms.” There are limits to Israeli willingness to live under constant rocket attack. Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease fire. Hamas rejected it.

The current operation is intended to destroy the tunnels from Gaza into Israel, used by Hamas to attack and murder civilians. Finding them all is difficult and destroying them even more so.

The current operation, which is both meant to neutralize the tunnel threat and serve as leverage during the search for a ceasefire formula, should take, from a technical perspective, two weeks, officers said.



The Chaos At The Southern Border Is a “Manufactured Crisis” by The Elephant's Child

It is becoming increasingly clear that the chaos at our southern border is a “manufactured crisis,” initiated by the Obama administration. The surge was directly caused by the impression in Central American countries that unaccompanied children and mothers with young children could be admitted directly and free to America, where they would receive care, and welfare. At least that’s how Obama’s speeches were interpreted.

Earlier this spring the news broke that Health and Human Services (HHS) was advertising  for private contractors to help transport illegal aliens throughout the interior United States. Before the surge. Then there was this:

♦ Between December 2010 and November 2013, the Catholic Charities diocese of Galveston received $15,549,078 in federal grants from HHS for “Unaccompanied Alien Children Project” with a program description of “Refugee and Entry Assistance.”

♦ In 2013, the Catholic Charities Diocese of Fort Worth received $350,000 from the Department of Homeland Security for “citizenship and education training” with a program description of “citizenship and immigration services.”

♦ Between September 2010 and September 2013, the Catholic Charities of Dallas received $823,658 from HHS for “Citizenship Education Training” for “refugee and entrant assistance.”

♦ From December 2012 to January 2014, Baptist Child and Family Services received $62,111,126 in federal grants from HHS for “Unaccompanied Alien Children Program.”

On Wednesday, a report from Texas confirmed the above grants. The Baptist Family and Child Services had received a $50 million contract to buy a Texas resort hotel and transform it into a 600 bed facility for juvenile illegal alien unaccompanied children. The post in Gateway Pundit featured pictures of the huge outdoor pool, the tennis courts, and sauna and exercise rooms. Not included in the pictures was the indoor olympic size pool, the simple but ‘well appointed rooms,’ racquetball courts and picnic areas.

They envisioned it as an intake center where children would spend about 15 days, as a sort of emergency room or triage center, for medical and mental health care, educational programs, recreational programs and case management. They planned on building a soccer field and adding a perimeter fence.

Well, one look at the pictures, and the proverbial excrement hit the fan. The monumental inappropriateness and  misplaced and overblown ‘compassion’ provoked a monumental outcry from sensible American citizens, who perhaps reminded them of veterans dying while waiting for simple appointments with a doctor, or the 92,000,000 Americans of working age who have quit looking for unavailable jobs, or the folks existing on help from charitable food banks. Baptist Child and Family Services withdrew their bid for the Palm Aire Resort  because of the ‘surprising’ outcry.  Be sure to take a look at the pictures.

It seems to me that this is related to the brilliant “Fast and Furious” boneheaded gun-running scheme that killed one American Border Patrol officer and hundreds of Mexicans in an attempt to drive gun control in America. Obama invited the flood of Central American children with talk of amnesty and open borders to welcome children and mothers with children. That worked. The flood may have been more than expected.

The media is featuring sad stories of little children and mothers and Border Patrol agents changing diapers, while the border is unattended since the agents have been called away from that job to change diapers. Most of the illegals are working-age males. The media isn’t talking about Mara-Salvatrucha or MS-13, nor human trafficking.

We had Amnesty once before, that was supposed to take care of the illegal immigrant problem. Instead the assumption was that amnesty would always be repeated and there has been a continuous flow of illegals ever since. Some time this year Obama will attempt to unilaterally and illegally amnesty half or more of the roughly 12 million illegal aliens now living in this country.

The immediate response should be tent cities, folding cots, and expedited processing and return of the entire flood to their own countries. And the fence should be built. Fences do work. Israel’s does. The fence around the White House does. It won’t stop the influx, but it would help to make clear that the United States has laws and expects them to be obeyed. One man with a bunch of crackpot ideas about ‘reforming America’ should not be able to get away with this.

  • The Judiciary Committee reports that 65% of Asylum requests are “immediately approved” in FY 2014.
  • About 500 illegal aliens are to be released into American society each week.
  • Only 38 illegal immigrants of the tens of thousand who have flooded the border have been deported. Most who have illegally entered the country since last October are expected to be allowed to stay.


Congratulations Australia! by The Elephant's Child

Abbott, Tony Australia

Climate hysteria probably reached its peak in 2006-2009 in Australia. Labor  Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called man-made global warming “the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time.” Even though average global temperatures hadn’t warmed since 1989, we were headed for an environmental catastrophe and only drastic changes to our way of life could avoid Armageddon. Dissent was treated with shock and derision.

Mr. Rudd set out to pass a cap-and-trade scheme in 2009, but the Aussies didn’t buy it. But then the rest of the world declined to sign up with expensive carbon reduction proposals at the Copenhagen summit, Mr. Rudd lost even more credibility. In 2010 Julia Gillard promised not to impose a carbon tax, but she still lost seats in parliament and  her coalition partners in the Greens persuaded her to push ahead with the unpopular levy of A$23 (U.S. $21.54) per ton of carbon. That further weakened Labor, and Tony Abbott won election last year on a platform of repeal of the tax. The Australian government’s own figures estimate the tax has added A$9.90 to the average household’s weekly power bill. (Think adding $40 to your monthly power bill here, and you see the objection.)

Cap-and-Trade Mr. Abbott argued, amounted to “a great big tax to create a big slush fund to provide politicized handouts, run by a giant bureaucracy.” He supported simpler, cheaper and more practical ways of creating a cleaner environment and most Australians realized that the cost of decarbonizing the economy outweighed any possible benefits. Australia’s Senate voted 39-32 last Thursday to repeal the carbon emissions price. Prime Minister Abbott told voters in a news conference after the vote:

Today the tax that you voted to get rid of is finally gone, a useless destructive tax which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living and which didn’t actually help the environment is finally gone.

Phillip Hutchings writes at Wattsupwiththat that:

Within minutes of the Australian parliament voting to scrap our carbon tax today, one of our major coal-fired electricity generators issued a profit warning announcement.

In this case, AGL Energy announced its pre-tax profits will fall by $186 million in 2014/15 solely due to the removal of the carbon tax. The majority of this is related to the very large, but inefficient Loy Yang brown coal station which supplies 30% of the power needs of the state of Victoria. It’s amongst the single biggest emitters of CO2 in Australia.

Yet it was due to get $242 million of “Government assistance” under the carbon tax arrangements this year. Most of which found its way to the bottom line.

 



The Offensive Translator by The Elephant's Child

Catherine Tate is a British comedienne, and this is an oldie but goodie. One of her best.




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