American Elephants

Inflicting Maximum Pain, Continued. by The Elephant's Child

It seems that you cannot believe the rhetoric coming out of the White House. I know, I know, it seem impossible, but there it is. Congress wanted to be sure that the president had flexibility to lessen the sequester’s effects, but he said he’d veto it. He does not intend to lessen the effects. However as I said yesterday, the Navy Times wrote that 15,000 teachers in military schools were being furloughed. Yet I have also read that Obama has specifically exempted from the sequester any effects on military families.

The Washington Times has uncovered an email from the administration, that tells the government people in the field that they are not to contradict what the administration said would be the impact of the sequester.

An email sent by Charles Brown, an official with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office in Raleigh NC asking if “there was any latitude” in how to spread the sequester cuts across the region to lessen the impact on fish inspections. Officials in Washington replied:

We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be. (emphasis added)

Officials at the national airports cited by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as examples of how the sequester is delaying airline travel — say she’s wrong. They are not delaying flights at all. Ms. Napolitano cited LA International, Chicago’s O’Hare and Atlanta’s Hartfield Jackson as suffering from security checkpoint lines that were “150 to 200 percent as long as we would normally expect. We’re already seeing the effects at some of the ports of entry, the big airports, for example. Some of them had very long lines this weekend.” Officials at each of the airports denied any longer line or airline delays.

The White House has cancelled tours of the executive mansion until “further notice.”

Republicans have warned government against using furloughs in a political game. They warned they would call Cabinet secretaries and executive agency managers before congressional hearings on how furloughs are applied in the wake of forced spending cuts. They warned President Obama against choosing political gain over public safety. “If they are laying off TSA agents and air-traffic controllers and yet Secretary La Hood’s office is still getting cleaned each night, come on,” said Rep Jim Jordan, chairman of the regulatory committee. “The fundamental mission of the president of the United States is to ensure the security of this nation. That’s got to be his top priority.”

Environmental Zealots v. The Constitution by The Elephant's Child

epa gina McCarthy

President Obama has given more indication about what we can expect from the EPA in his second-term global warming agenda. He has picked Gina McCarthy, one of Lisa Jackson’s top lieutenants to head the Environmental Protection Agency as its new chief. Over the past four years, McCarthy has run the EPA’s air office, as a notably willful regulator.

Her promotion gives notice that Obama has given up on getting agreement from Congress on his anticarbon agenda, particularly given the number of Senate  Democrats from coal or oil states. The real climate fight is now over the shape of rules to come that could be released as early as this summer, and apparently a brutal under-the-table lobbying campaign is now underway.

The debate about global warming and the hysteria of the environmental movement, but the problems of the appointment of McCarthy and the nomination of Ernest J Moniz to take charge at the Department of Energy demonstrate that the president is planning to use these two agencies to pursue an aggressive climate change agenda in his second term.

The key issue involved in these nominations and the president’s agenda for the coming four years revolve more around legal issues than the scientific disputes. The real issue is a Constitutional one.

“The question before the nation is whether the executive branch can or should give itself the power to run roughshod over Congress and unilaterally implement new regulations that will give the force of law to the president’s climate beliefs,” as Jonathan Tobin wrote in “The Climate and the Constitution” at Commentary.

The supreme Court granted authority to the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gasses. The EPA is in the midst of writing regulations to govern such emissions from new power plants. Those rules would essentially bar construction of any new coal-fired power plants unless they include the ability to capture carbon gases — a technology  that is not available on a commercial scale.

To really restrict emissions, the agency must then devise emissions limits for existing power plants, a hugely controversial project that could force the shutdown of dozens of older coal-burning plants, cause a steep drop in domestic demand for coal and trigger a sharp rise in energy prices. Coal is the cheapest and most plentiful source of fuel for power plants. Obama made it clear, when he was first nominated and subsequently, that he intends to bankrupt the coal industry.

Environmental zealots are sure that wind and solar, clean sources of energy, will allow us to shut down the fossil fuel industry. Obama expects half of our energy to come from wind and solar by 2050. Not going to happen. Wind and solar energy is limited by the intrinsic nature of the wind and the sun. Without significant government subsidy, they would shut down. They cannot run without 24-7 backup from— fossil fuel power plants.  Eliminating coal-fired power plants would not only raise the cost of energy significantly, but risk blackouts and brownouts.

Congress made a mistake when it wrote the Clean Air legislation by drawing the law so broadly that way too much was left to the whim of EPA and the Department of Energy regulation. Though the Supreme Court granted powers to protect air quality to the EPA, they have gone far beyond in a real grab for power. Any such regulations are sure to bring intense opposition from the courts and from Congress. The courts have not been shy in slapping down the overreach of the EPA.

The center of the problem is that the Constitution created an organization where the three branches of government could exercise checks and balances on each other. The core of that is the notion that writing laws are the purview of Congress. When a president assumes the right to draft, pass and enforce laws— even where Congress has refused to act— it is a rejection of the constitutional process. The Constitution doesn’t go for autocrats. If we become a nation where the legal framework becomes a matter of the dictates of a president, we will all be the losers in the long run.

Lately President Obama has been going around saying that he is a President, not a “dictator” or an “emperor,” but this is a distinction without difference. On Carbon regulation, Ms. McCarthy has been integral in abusing laws that were written decades ago to achieve climate goals that Congress has rejected, with little or no political debate. Her antidemocratic politics should be the subject of thorough questioning at her confirmation hearings. We would  hope that the president would restrain his hubris and insist that his agencies act within the framework of the law, but the EPA has a longtime reputation as a lawbreaker.

Obama’s “Thirteen Words.” Demonstrably False. by The Elephant's Child

At Powerline, John Hinderaker recalls George W. Bush’s “famous 16 words.” They came from Bush’s 2003 State of the Union speech, where Bush said “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” That was a true statement, but the Left quickly made it a matter of immense controversy which took years to die down, and some still believe that it was false in spite of the evidence.

Ten years later, at President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union , where he said: “Heat waves, droughts, wildfires and floods — all are now more frequent and intense.” That statement was demonstrably false, as the Science and Environmental Policy Project makes clear:

The claim is so factually challenged that it is a wonder it got by the White House staff. Looking at the weather stations that have 80 years of data shows heat records were set in the 1930s, the Palmer drought index shows the 1930s and the 1950s were hotter and drier with the 1930’s dust bowl lasting a decade. … Increased floods are not supported by the data, and, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, wildfires are declining.

Obama added about Hurricane Sandy: We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy….a freak coincidence…” He was wrong about that one as well:

Sandy was neither unique nor extreme. Hurricane direct hits on NYC occurred in 1815, 1821 and 1893 in prior active periods. The damage was caused by a storm surge, not the hurricane itself.

Fred Singer, President of SEPP  suggested 3 questions to ask about global warming/climate change:

1. Please explain to me why there has been no warming for more than a decade, even though atmospheric carbon dioxide continues to rise? The question is supported by graphic evidence. Phil Jones, head of HadCRU has admitted that there has been no statistically significant surface warming for at least 15 years.
2. Can you explain why the Antarctic has been getting colder and GAINING ice? (2.1 tons/yr for past 150 years)? The scientific articles were cited.
3. Could the Sun (or cosmic rays) be responsible for he major warming of the 20th century? A graph by E. Fris-Christensen and K. Lasses, published in Science, shows a strong relationship between the temperature anomaly and the sunspot cycle length while the relationship between temperature anomaly and CO2 concentration is weak. The IPCC has admitted that cosmic ray changes can affect earth’s clouds and climate.

Global warming has always been more a matter of religious belief, accepted because of the Left’s teachings that the West is deeply flawed, and can expect to fail. Deeply emotionally charged beliefs are hard to give up. Those who believe that mankind is a blight upon the earth, and we should return mother earth to the Pleistocene, aren’t  open to simple scientific arguments. The problem is the people and all their works.

This video interview came from the “Forward on Climate” rally on the National Mall, Feb. 17th, to protest the Keystone XL pipeline, sponsored by 350.0rg and the Sierra Club. Now the pipeline has been approved by Governor Heineman of Nebraska, and by the State Department which must approve cross-border projects, and is back on Obama’s desk.


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