American Elephants

A Major Rebuke to the President From the D.C. Court Of Appeals by The Elephant's Child

Nuclear Waste

President Obama held one of his rare press-conferences on Friday, just before departing for a vacation. Asked a question about his authority to delay aspects of ObamaCare that were by law to take effect, the president asserted his unilateral power to “tweak” inconvenient laws. He believes his authority as president trumps mere law or regulation.

On Tuesday the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an unusual writ of mandamus, a direct judicial  order compelling the government to fulfill a legal obligation. This “extraordinary  remedy” is nominally about nuclear waste, wrote Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the 2-1 majority. The case “raises significant questions about the scope of the Executive’s authority to disregard federal statutes.” This is a major rebuke.

In re Aiken County is another episode in the long running political soap opera about storing spent nuclear fuel at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, an Energy Department project that requires the approval of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Nuclear Wast Policy Act of 1983 requires that the NRC “shall consider” the license application for the repository and “shall issue a final decision approving or disapproving” it within three years of submission.

Well, green lobby, not-in-my-backyard Nevadans and Californians, Harry Reid, endless delays, lies, obfuscations, protests and more delays. This particular application was submitted to the NRC in June 2008, and yes that certainly does add up to more than three years. Congress did not amend the 1983 statute.

The country has been searched for suitable sites. Everybody wants it somewhere else, but Yucca Mountain was chosen as the optimal site in the nation. Oddly, nobody worries about the nuclear waste stored hither and yon around the country, in places not nearly so well protected as Yucca Mountain.

“As things stand, therefore the Commission is simply flouting the law,” Judge Kavanaugh continued. “In light of the constitutional respect owed to Congress, and having fully exhausted the alternatives available to us,” the court had no option other than the mandamus writ.

A federal Appeals Court is stating, overtly that federal regulators are acting as if they may freely ignore the law. Judge A. Raymond Randolph notes in a concurrence that former NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, who has since resigned, “Orchestrated a systematic campaign of noncompliance.” If Mr. Jaczko worked on Wall Street, he would be indicted.

Judge Kavanaugh offered some remedial legal education in “basic constitutional principles” for the President who claimed only last Friday to be a constitutional law professor. Under Article II and Supreme Court precedents, the President must enforce mandates when Congress appropriates money, as well as abide by prohibitions. If he objects on constitutional grounds, he may decline to enforce a statute until the case is adjudicated in the courts. “But the President may not decline to follow a statutory mandate or prohibition simply because of policy objections” wrote the court.

The employer-insurance requirement that Obama decided to delay, and other such provisions are exactly such statutory mandates, with hard start dates. The executive has broad enforcement and interpretative discretion, but no authority to suspend core parts of laws — even ones that he co-wrote.

President Obama is redefining the structure of the U.S. Political system, not just changing statutes as it is convenient. It is crucial that the courts reject Mr. Obama’s increasing contempt for any constitutional limits on his authority or his  overreach, and remind him of the limits of his power.

Want to Cross the Border? DHS Has Published Instructions for How to Apply for Asylum.. by The Elephant's Child

The trip for an illegal immigrant crossing the Mexican border is often grueling, dangerous an even deadly. Ruthless “coyotes” who escort illegals across the desert or through wilderness routes profit from the trip and care little about those whom they are herding north. Our immigration laws the object of passionate battles in Congress. We have, it is often asserted, perfectly good immigration laws — the problem is that they are not being enforced. We theoretically have somewhere around 11,000,000 illegal immigrants currently in the country. Democrats want to give them amnesty, for they expect future Democrat voters.

Our laws are not being enforced and not being obeyed. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement service is suing the Homeland Security Department and  officials because they are not allowed to do their jobs. Ranchers on our southern border are under siege. We have  something  like 20 million unemployed and Democrats believe that giving work permits and amnesty to the eleven million currently here  is a good idea, and now we learn that Homeland Security has posted clear guidelines on the Internet for an easier way to gain entrance to the United States. You simply step right up to a border crossing and tell official there that you have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture from drug gangs, and you may get to enter the country while you await a hearing before an immigration judge, a process that could take years. Works for about 200 people a week at the Otay crossing near San Diego.

Add this to the Lawless File. Our system of government is under attack from the Obama administration. They will obey the laws they like, and make very sure that you do, Enforce the laws that are help them to get what they want, sometimes ruthlessly, and simply ignore the laws they do not like, or waive them, delay implementation, issue an executive order to trump the law, or issue regulations that make the law impossible to enforce.

The People Must Learn Correct Thinking! by The Elephant's Child

The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard has uncovered an 80-page “talking points” monograph titled “Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging,” written by a trio of Democratic political operatives.

The new guide presents talking points to be followed by top Democrats after events like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December. The anti-gun guide urges gun foes to speak out when a shooting “creates a unique climate” to attack the National Rifle Association. Strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.

“The most powerful time to communicate is when concern and emotions are running at their peak” said the 80 page document.

The guide spells out how to talk about gun control and when to press the issue. The best time is directly in the wake of a publicized shooting. It calls on gun control advocates to speak out, not to wait for the facts after a shooting heightens awareness, like Trayvon Martin’s death.

The debate over gun violence in America is periodically punctuated by high-profile gun violence incidents including Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, the Trayvon Martin killing, Aurora, and Oak Creek. When an incident such as these attracts sustained media attention, it creates a unique climate for our communications efforts,” said the guide.

“A high-profile gun violence incident temporarily draws more people into the conversation about gun violence,” added the talking points. “We should rely on emotionally powerful language, feelings and images to bring home the terrible impact of gun violence,” said the guide, which also urged advocates to  use images of scary looking guns and shooting scenes to make their point.

They even warn gun control advocates that the National Rifle Association is considered a mainstream organization by most Americans and when communicating with the general public need to be aware of the fact that beyond our base, people have a positive impression of the organization and its role.

James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal says “Essentially  it’s a how-to book on inciting a moral panic.” It urges antigun advocates to seize opportunistically on horrific crimes. The campaign’s cynically manipulative tactics were clearly followed by the President. A few states enacted new antigun laws, but it was hardly a national trend. Democratic Party dominance of state government was a necessary condition. The effort made no  progress in Congress. Mr. Taranto suggested that perhaps those most susceptible to the emotional messages were the Democrats themselves.

I don’t know why anyone should be surprised at Democrats’ attempts to manipulate the rest of us. That’s what community organizers are trained to do, and how political campaigns are organized. And Obama has just hired a new 27 year-old “senior policy advisor” at the White Office of Science and Technology Policy, one Maya Shankar.” She will be creating a new team to help build federal capacity to experiment with modifying citizen behavior — the Nudge Team — to nudge you into doing what the federal government wants you to do. Scientific manipulation — so you think correctly and behave in a suitable manner — or else.

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