American Elephants

A Power Grab Over Troubled Waters. by The Elephant's Child

Imagine this:  Representative James Oberstar (D-Mich.) wants to rewrite the Clean Water Act.  Back in 1972, when the law was written, even liberals respected the Constitution. They understood if you wanted the federal government to regulate the waters, you had to say “navigable”so that it was legal under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

Representative Oberstar wants to remove the word “navigable”. How do you then explain why the federal government should regulate waters that are not navigable?  And what are waters that are not navigable — mud puddles, prairie potholes, irrigation ditches, intermittent ponds?  Or bathtubs, fish ponds, fountains, on private lands — neighborhood backyards?

This isn’t the first time Oberstar has tried this.  He tried it in 2007.  He and others were not happy with Supreme Court rulings that defined the limits Washington faced over bodies of water that had no relation to navigability or commerce.   They want full federal control over all waters. Richard Baker, then a Republican congressman from Louisiana, a state filled with waterways, called the bill “the largest-ever expansion of federal power over private property.

The federal government has already deeply damaged Central Valley farmers in California by denying them water because of an “endangered” minnow — the Delta smelt.  Unemployment in the Central Valley is high in the double digits, and orchards and vines are dying for lack of water.  Is the Delta smelt really endangered?

Farmers should be particularly concerned.  Oberstar’s bill gives federal regulators the power to police farming practices and to take their land through regulatory restrictions if those practices are deemed to be in violation of the law. There is even a clause that adds “and the land that impacts it” so it could regulate everything around it.

This is a drive by the Environmental Protection Agency to expand its jurisdiction.  Most of the justification for the existence of the agency is becoming questionable.  The air is very clean, in general, so the EPA is attempting to find possible bad effects on health from, um,  particulates, anything, that can be regulated under the Clean Air Act.  They’re not done with CO2, but the case for controlling that is becoming questionable.  So we have a grasp for power that is sanctioned at the highest level.

Liberals understand that they have a brief window in ’09 and ’10 — they are trying to get as much enacted as possible before the November elections. They need to be stopped.

Supporting Liberty is the Most Basic American Value. The Obama Team Can’t be Bothered. by The Elephant's Child

Here at American Elephants, we are especially critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy.  We are big believers in liberty, and if freedom appears at all on the Obama team agenda, it’s way, way down at the bottom of the list.

If you need evidence, I offer the Green movement in Iran.  Afraid that displeasing the Mullahs could mean an end to the hopes of the administration for an opportunity to persuade Iran to give up their nuclear efforts,  the administration could not bring themselves to offer even vigorous verbal support for the dissidents.

Then there is the administration’s support for the legally ousted president of Honduras, lack of support for Georgia, for Israel, for Columbia and South Korea. Casual insults to our closest allies in Europe — and even Australia and Canada are inexplicable.

For another look at ” the freedom agenda,” the Wall Street Journal today has a splendid article on just what it means to make freedom a priority:

No one seems to know precisely who is behind the “Miss Me Yet?” billboard—the cheeky one featuring a grinning George W. Bush that looks out over I-35 near Wyoming, Minn. But Syrian dissident Ahed Al-Hendi sympathizes with the thought.

In 2006, Mr. Hendi was browsing pro-democracy Web sites in a Damascus Internet café when plainclothes cops carrying automatic guns swooped in, cuffed him, and threw him into the trunk of a car. He spent over a month in prison, some of it alone in a 5-by-3 windowless basement cell where he listened to his friend being tortured in the one next door. Those screams, he says, were cold comfort—at least he knew his friend hadn’t been killed.

Mr. Hendi was one of the lucky ones: He’s now living in Maryland as a political refugee where he works for an organization called And this past Monday, he joined other international dissidents at a conference sponsored by the Bush Institute at Southern Methodist University to discuss the way digital tools can be used to resist repressive regimes.

He also got to meet the 43rd president. In a private breakfast hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Bush, Mr. Hendi’s message to the former president was simple: “We miss you.” There have been “a lot of changes” under the current administration, he added, and not for the better.

Adrian Hong, who was imprisoned in China in 2006 for his work helping North Koreans escape the country (a modern underground railroad), echoed that idea. “When I was released [after 10 days] I was told it was because of very strong messaging from the White House and the culture you set,” he told Mr. Bush.

There is much more, and real food for thought.  Do read the whole thing.  Standing up for  individuals who are risking their lives for freedom should not be a partisan issue.  It is he most basic of American values.

KAPOW! Right in the Kisser! by American Elephant

Hot damn. If this video from the Republican Governor’s Association is any indication of the type of campaign Republicans are going to run this year, then Republicans could very well take back both houses of congress this November.

The video is slick, powerful and nails the tone and message. It tells the 80% of Americans who are angry and distrust this government that they are absolutely right by reminding them, with Democrats own words and deeds, of the blatant disregard of the American people’s wishes, precedent, the rule of law, and of the radically, dangerously corrupt  manner in which Democrats are forcing their unpopular agenda on an unwilling public.

I particularly like the choice of the Lincoln quote at the beginning. Spot on.

And if for no other reason, you just know the video nails it because, right out of the box, the left-wing media is attacking it as some crypto-Fawkesian incitement to blow up Parliament Congress or some such. (“Remember, remember the fifth of November; gunpowder, treason and plot”) Going immediately to DEFCON 1 like that means they’re scared.  No one has even called it racist yet that I know of, but if they haven’t yet, I’m sure they will have before I finish writing this post. Liberals are predictable if nothing else after all.

Kudo’s to Haley Barbour and the Republican Governor’s Association, and especially to the in-house talent that made this polished, powerful vid. This is the second slick ad I’ve seen from that group, which suggests to me that  the RGA may be where the real leadership is in the Republican party this election. You might consider hitting them up with a donation if you can. When someone in our party is leading in the right direction, I like to get behind them.

More please!

(h/t HotAir)

Not Quite As Advertised! by The Elephant's Child
April 24, 2010, 1:08 am
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Politics, Statism | Tags: , ,

Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, points out some of the danger signs for ObamaCare revealed in the actuary report.  The White House  says that only 23 million people will remain uninsured, instead of the previously estimated 24 million.  The bill won’t really take effect until 2014, but there seems to be plenty of trouble ahead.

Here are the danger spots, as Ms. Turner lists them:

1. About 14 million people will lose their employer coverage by 2019, as smaller employers terminate their plans and workers who have  employer coverage enroll in Medicaid.  Half of all seniors on Medicare Advantage could lose their coverage.

2.  Big fines for companies: Businesses will pay $878 billion in penalties in the first five years after the fines trigger in 2014, partly because they can’t afford to offer government-mandated insurance, and because some employees will apply for taxpayer-subsidized insurance.

3. Tens of billions in new fees and excise taxes will “be passed through to consumers in the form of higher drug and devices prices and higher premiums.  Small businesses will be hardest hit.

4.  The “CLASS Act” long-term-care insurance will face a significant risk of failure.  There is a serious risk that the program will be unsustainable.

5.  National health spending will increase by $311 billion over the coming decade.  The federal spending curve will increase by a net total of $251 billion over the next ten years.

6. An estimated 23 million will remain uninsured by 2019, 5 million undocumented aliens, and 18 million who pay the penalty rather than buy insurance.

7. Estimated reductions in the growth rate of health spending “may not be fully achievable” because productivity adjustments could become unsustainable even within 10 years

8. Fifteen percent of all hospitals, nursing homes and other providers treating Medicare patients could be operating at a loss by 2019, which will jeopardize care for beneficiaries.  Doctors are threatening to drop Medicare if reimbursement rates mean they can’t cover their costs.

9. A significant number of those newly eligible for Medicaid will have trouble finding physicians who will see them.

Republicans on the Joint Economic Committee explain in a new report the impact of a #14.3 billion per year tax on health insurance, effective in 2014.  This tax will be passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums for private coverage.  It will cost the typical family of four with job-based coverage an additional $1,000 a year and will fall more often on small businesses and their employees.

These things stand out at this point, but there are many more money-saving claims that Democrats have made, that seem  destined to fail to reduce costs.  Governmental plans oft go awry, and things always cost far more than estimated.  But we knew all that too, didn’t we.

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