American Elephants

A Constitutional Amendment Inspired by “Occupy” Demands Would Eliminate Due Process for Corporations! by The Elephant's Child

And now we have further proof of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement’s close relationship to the liberal establishment. MoveOn and ACORN have been sponsoring and supporting the encampments, President Obama has said that he supports them and their aims are one of the reasons that he ran for president, SEIU has turned up to support the various camps across the country.

Now a Democrat Congressman from Florida, Theodore Deutch, has offered a constitutional amendment in the House of Representatives that would strip American companies of all protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

The amendment is aimed at curbing the free speech rights afforded third-party groups  by the Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC, which was one of the few intelligible demands of the Occupy groups. It was also pretty clear from their spokesmen that they hadn’t much of a clue about the legal case nor its effects.

In spite of the violence, crime, filth and excrement of the squalorous encampments, the left still dreams that the Occupy “movement” is somehow the precursor of a revolution that will bring about the brave new world where the liberal elite can be permanently in charge.

Representative Deutch made specific reference to the protests in a news release, and stated “the days of corporate control of our democracy must end.”  Branded with the acronym OCCUPIED, the amendment states:

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.

The amendment would  not apply just to the First Amendment, but to the entire Constitution. It would therefore remove the protection of the Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections.  So the federal government could wiretap company phones without warrants, seize company records or expropriate company property without due process.  Granted, the EPA is currently pretending that those protections do not exist.

The proposed amendment would apply only to private companies. Labor unions would be exempted from its flagrant infringements on constitutional liberties, as would nonprofit organizations such as Heritage or the Sierra Club. If they could figure out a way to get the conservative think tanks without affecting the Sierra Club and its ilk, I’m sure they would. The amendment would also exempt media companies and their corporate clients.

Before Citizens United law, news outlets enjoyed a monopoly on free speech which was denied to all other corporations.  GE was free to opine on current affairs by way of their media holdings while other corporations were not.

The extent to which liberal true-believers will go to deprive their opponents of their rights to freedom of speech is always amazing. They believe they are entitled to be in charge, and will go to any lengths to make it happen.

I think liberals are making a mistake to claim the Occupy movement as their own, though I am delighted to give them credit for it. I think when hazardous materials  crews had to remove 200 lbs. of excrement from the encampment in Santa Cruz, Los Angeles crews ordered to wear haz-mat uniforms to remove some 30 tons of garbage and debris from City Hall Park, the American public began to see the ‘movement’ for what it was.  If you’re going to have a movement, you need to have people who can speak clearly and have intelligible demands, and who clean up after themselves.  Representative Deutch should be ashamed of himself.


Music Break: Celtic Thunder Heritage — Heartland by The Elephant's Child
November 30, 2011, 5:25 pm
Filed under: Entertainment, Music

Obama Administration Seals Records of Murdered Border Patrol Agent. by The Elephant's Child

Amid Congressional calls for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder in connection with the Fast and Furious scandal that allowed firearms to be smuggled into Mexico, the Obama administration abruptly sealed court records containing alarming details about how Mexican drug smugglers murdered a U.S. Border Patrol agent with a gun connected to the failed federal experiment.

Information will now be kept from the public as well as the media.  The rifle used to kill federal agent Brian Terry last December is part of the scandalous Operation Fast and Furious. It was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF), an agency of the Justice Department, that forced gun dealers to sell thousands of weapons to known gun runners so they could eventually be traced to Mexican drug cartels.

Questions abound about this strange operation, and the associated Project Gunrunner.  The “most transparent” administration in history again is attempting to skirt the law.  If they can’t get what they want from Congress, they’ll just do it by executive order, or sealing the records, or some other way. This administration seems to have no respect for the Constitutional separation of powers.

What’s Going On in Iran? by The Elephant's Child

Michael Ledeen has written the most interesting commentary on the spate of explosions in or near an Iranian military installation — or nuclear research facility, or Revolutionary guards base, or missile base — the mullahs can’t make up their minds what to say.

The mullahcracy is so intensely divided that different ‘spokesmen’ from different ministries/ news outlets/ cults/ mafias put out different versions.  There was an explosion, or at least ‘the sound of an explosion,’ it was just the sound of our fierce military training. Then again, yes, there was something, but not to worry, just go home and shut up.  And so it goes in the Islamic Republic of Iran, as our president so loves to call his intended international partners.

I’ve been reporting for many months about the ongoing sabotage of pipelines, refineries, military sites, Revolutionary Guards’ aircraft and trains, and groups of regime thugs. and have received the usual cold shoulder from publications “of record,” which is to say silent sneers.  But the tempo of attacks, most notably the monster blast a week ago that vaporized General Moghaddam and his foreign visitors (at least some of whom had taken the shuttle from Pyongyang to be with him on what they wrongly expected would be a happy day) led the Washington Post’s man in Tehran, Thomas Erdbrink, to note the phenomenon in a useful story entitled “Mysterious Explosions Pose Dilemma for Iranian leaders.”  He gives us a pretty good rundown of the explosions, and, living as he does in Tehran, gives ample space to regime “explanations” such as bad welding, western sanctions, and so forth.  Given the number of foreign journalists who have come to a bad end in Iran, you’d do the same.

Do read the whole thing.  Most of the news we get about Iran is scary and confusing. Dr. Ledeen comes close to making sense of this strange, fanatical, conspiratorial, repressive, corrupt, rebellious society.  I can’t say that he is comforting, but at least he isn’t fantasizing about the president’s non-existent foreign policy, nor assuming that we can just all be friends if we are nicer to them than George W. Bush was. It’s a pretty clear-eyed assessment.

ADDENDUM: Britain has closed its embassy in Iran and evacuated all its staff from that country following the attack on their embassy in Tehran on Tuesday.  Britain has also ordered Iran to close its embassy in London immediately, and its staff has been given 48 hours to leave, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said today in a strongly worded statement to Parliament.

Experts Predict the Collapse of the Solar Industry! by The Elephant's Child

Industry experts are predicting a massive round of bankruptcies for hundreds of American solar firms, as the market for solar panels begins to collapse.  Declining demand, and massive oversupply are leading to dropping prices for solar panels.

The supply side of the equation has been exacerbated by the heavy hand of government that — handing out big subsidies and grants — has attempted to pick winners and losers in a free market system.  Solar energy is not cost effective.  It requires full-time backup for those times when the sun doesn’t shine, like cloudy days and — night.  Sunshine may be free, but electricity made from solar rays is not. Without subsidy, the solar industry simply doesn’t exist.

This paper from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) attempts to show the national levelized costs for different generating technologies. It is a modelling and forecasting exercise, so it may not have much relation to the real world, but it’s interesting as a comparison that attempts to get at what things really cost.

Two high profile companies have gone bankrupt — Solyndra and Evergreen — and more are expected to follow. Of the few hundred solar panel makers worldwide, analysts expect that only around 20 will survive. Many are accusing China of dumping solar panels at bargain prices, but China too is suffering from the lack of demand and declining prices. The technology is the same, but China has a vast supply of cheap labor.

What these analysts do not include is the entire rationale for solar energy. If the case for global warming collapses — and it is collapsing — then the case for subsidizing inefficient and expensive solar energy collapses as well.  Add to that the world’s new-found abundance of shale deposits of oil and natural gas, and vast new fields in Brazil and Israel. The energy picture has changed dramatically.

The coming bankruptcies of solar companies will include many companies backed by taxpayer financing.  Solyndra was just the beginning.

Chris Christie Asks Obama:”What the Hell Are We Paying You For?” by The Elephant's Child

The outspoken Governor of New Jersey speaks out! Assertive. No Pussyfooting around.  Do we admire it so much because we’re too timid to speak out ourselves?

The EPA’s Outrageous Power Grab! Lisa Jackson Must Be Stopped. by The Elephant's Child

The Obama EPA has decreed that “America’s fleet of passenger cars will have to meet an average mileage of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which will double today’s requirement of about 27 mpg.” The EPA’s director Lisa Jackson is way out of line, and assuming powers not granted to her or her agency.

Lisa Jackson has tossed aside some 35 years of Congressional prerogatives.  In 2007, Congress raised the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard with a bill requiring the U.S. fleet to hit 35 mpg by 2020, which was a 40% increase.  The theory is that the EPA has declared carbon dioxide a “pollutant,.” and because cars emit CO2, Ms. Jackson is depending on the Clean Air Act in her bid to issue commands to Detroit.

The issue of CAFE standards was previously the charge of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  NHTSA was charged by Congress with taking into account vehicle safety and a rule’s effect on the economy and consumer demand. The rule would reduce the mass of a car by 15% tp 25%. decreasing safety. Vehicles that cost $15,000 or less would be regulated out of existence.

The only way Detroit can hit these averages will be by turning at least 25% of its fleet into hybrids, which is undoubtedly the intention.  Hybrid sales peaked two years ago at 3% of the market and are declining.

Humans also emit CO2, every time we exhale. With something like 330,000,000 of us breathing out, that must be a fair amount of CO2.  Ms. Jackson has no authority to overrule Congress. The whole thing is silly — since carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant, but a colorless, odorless gas that helps plants to grow and resist drought. The Clean Air Act is designed to curb pollutants, not to make up out of whole cloth claims that benign things are damaging to health, in order to increase the power of the EPA.   Other than that, the Wall Street Journal reports that even the EPA’s low estimates show that the rule would cost $157 billion and raise the price of cars by about $3,100 per vehicle.

This is an outstanding example of the general wrongheadedness of the Obama administration. There is no respect for the Constitutional separation of powers, no respect for the rule of law. The normal legislative process is viewed as an inconvenience that is to be avoided or gotten around, so that the administration can achieve their aims without interference. The arrogance of the administration assumes that the administration knows best, rather than the American people.  Congress needs to respond to this power grab, to restore the rule of law, and put the out-of-control EPA in its place.

The rationale behind this move seems to be a firm belief in a nonexistent global warming, caused by our cars’ emissions of CO2. But  any alarming warming exists only in the computer models of climate, not in the real world. The CO2 in the atmosphere arises from the oceans, and the small amounts of warming precede the rise in CO2 by as much as 300 years.  We have had far greater amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere in the past, and are currently at a low point. We need more CO2, not less, to help feed the hungry people of the world.

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