American Elephants


More Quotations to Keep: Seemed Pertinent. by The Elephant's Child

Jen Rubin, Contentions, 5/04/2010

“There is no mystery as to why our Iran policy is in disarray It is what happens when we cast off the instruments of American power, place faith in international bodies that don’t share common interests or values, and assume our adversaries will respond to grand gestures and acts of goodwill.”

Jonah Goldberg, G File, 9/15/2012

“The people are the boss, the government is the servant. The Constitution is the government’s job description. The Declaration of Independence is its mission statement. Campaigns are the job interview, elections are the hiring and firing process.”

Bernard Bailyn, from:
The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution

“At the Philadelphia convention, with exquisite care and with delicate nuances, they devised a complex constitution that would generate the requisite power but would so distribute its flow and uses that no one body of men and no one institutional center would ever gain a monopoly of force or influence that would dominate the nation.”

Dore Gold: Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.

“The U.S. and Iran speak very different diplomatic languages that cannot be bridged by a dictionary alone. In the West, candor is central to confidence-building, for the diplomats of the Islamic Republic, deception is a way of life.”

From C.S. Lewis

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”



The EPA Is A Lawless, Rogue Agency That Should Be Abolished. by The Elephant's Child

unofficial-stream-small-custom-e1339556645568We have complained about Congress’ inclination to pass a broad law and turn the clarifying, defining and rulemaking functions over to a federal agency. That’s not quite fair, except in the case of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The Clean Water Act regulates the discharge of pollution into navigable waters. Rather than limit the definition of “navigable waters” to mean waters that are interstate and navigable in fact—the Clean Water Act broadens the definition of “navigable waters” so as to include non-navigable waters in order to give federal regulators a greater degree of environmental oversight. It was passed in 1972, with some specific exclusions, and has been a fairly steady source of litigation ever since.

In 2006, in Rapanos v. United States, four left-leaning justices ruled that there are no limits on federal jurisdiction. Four right-leaning justices ruled that federal jurisdiction is limited to “relatively permanent, standing, or continuously flowing bodies of water forming geographic features.” One justice (Kennedy) wrote that a water or wetland constitutes “navigable waters” under the Act if it possesses a “significant nexus” to waters that are navigable in fact or that could reasonably be so made.  You see the problem.

In May of this year, the EPA and the USACE (the Army Corps of Engineers) interpreted the Rapanos decision in the broadest fashion they could and promulgated the “Waters of the United States” rule, supposedly to clarify federal jurisdiction.

  • The EPA colluded with environmental special interests at the Sierra Club to manipulate the public comment period, in possible violation of federal anti-lobbying laws, as reported by The New York Times.
  • Also, the EPA ignored state input during the public comment period, in blatant contravention of the principles of cooperative federalism established by the Clean Water Act.

It’s all based on the term “significant nexus,” and ephemeral streams were added to federal jurisdiction, so all the feds have to do is claim jurisdiction—ant the argument can be made that everything is connected. Including ponds, ditches and puddles.

Fast forward to last Thursday August 27: a federal judge in North Dakota blocked the new Obama administration rule that would  the federal government jurisdiction over some state waterways.give

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota issued a temporary injunction against the rule, which gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers authority to protect some streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. The rule was scheduled to take effect Friday.

“The risk of irreparable harm to the states is both imminent and likely,” Erickson said in blocking the rule from taking effect.

Thirteen states led by North Dakota were involved in the lawsuit: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming.

August 28, Headline, Fox News: “EPA says clean water rule in effect despite court ruling” (Heather MacDonald: “lawlessness breeds lawlessness”) Apparently— never mind the federal court, we’re going to do what want! The EPA says the rule will safeguard drinking water for millions of Americans. Well, of course you have noticed the millions of Americans dropping dead from drinking puddle water and ditch water. The American Farm Bureau has declared war. Lawsuits to block the regulation are pending across the country, Congress has moved to thwart it, The White House has threatened to veto.  Opposition, however comes from both parties, businesses and most states.

The EPA has become known as an out-of-control rogue agency, and is probably the most hated agency in the government— though that designation may be up for grabs. When the head of the executive branch makes law on his own, ignores laws at his pleasure, and in general ignores his sacred oath, the agencies under his direction do the same. “Lawlessness breeds lawlessness.”

In the wake of the Gold King Mine spill of 3 or more million gallons of  toxic mine tailings into the Animus River, turning the river a nasty mustard color, the EPA is undoubtedly anxious to get news about their agency out of the nation’s consciousness.Bad timing. Now that the toxic waters have progressed to Lake Powell and past, the media has quietly dropped the daily pictures—just as they are about to reach Grand Canyon National Park. There is a limit to the amount of bad news an agency can cope with.



Do You Save Quotations? Here’s a Good One! by The Elephant's Child

From Steven Hayward

Liberalism’s irrepressible drive for an ever larger welfare state without limit arises from at least two premises upon which the left no longer reflects: the elevation of compassion to a political principle (albeit with other people’s money) and the erosion of meaningful constitutional limits on government on account of the idea of progress.



Things Aren’t Going Well for Hillary, and She’s Getting Mean. by The Elephant's Child

hillary clintonBack when she was a United States senator, Hillary stated “I am , you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants.” She also called for the creation of a national entry/exit ID card to keep track of people who’ve been admitted to the country legally—and maybe not just those people. “Although I’m not a big fan of it, we might have to move towards an ID system even for citizens.”

Well, that was then, this is now—Hillary’s effort to appeal to Hispanics is to compare Republicans to Nazis. Name the issue, and Hillary’s been on both sides of it at one time or another. She has wanted to be president—the first woman president—ever since she tried to be co-president with Bill, and the people had to tell her that she was not elected.

What is inordinately depressing about that is that in the intervening 19 years she has not done any real thinking about the state of the republic and what good governance consists of. Nor did her sojourn in the Senate show any evidence that she had thought long and hard about being an effective senator, nor did she as Secretary of State.

Our chief ambassador to the world departed from that office bragging about her air-miles, and trying to pass off the people’s demand to know why four Americans died at Benghazi as some kind of Republican political attack.  “And I hope that this will be the last effort by some in the Congress to politicize the tragic events of Benghazi. And that we do what all the other investigations, both the congressional ones and the independent one, and press—and others who have examined this—we will do what we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And that’s always been my focus.” Uh huh.

Just before that, she was calling republicans “terrorists.””As well she should have. If the pen is mightier than the sword, the modern digital video camera and the associated editing suite is a thermonuclear warhead, and the Internet is an ICBM traveling at the speed of light. CMP’s investigation was deceitful — it was sneaky as all hell, in fact — and it was excellent journalism, the sort of thing that would win a Pulitzer prize if the Pulitzer committee weren’t manned by the gutless and the intellectually dishonest.” (That’s from Kevin Williamson)

Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world, but it’s a little hard to take from Republicans who want to be President of the United States, yet espouse out of date, out of touch policies. They are dead wrong for 21st century for America. We are going forward. We are not going back. (David French)

And sending off boxes of baby heads in the mail is just so 21st century, Hillary? Well, perhaps it is. That’s how ISIS actually trains their children—to decapitate their dolls and stuffed animals—before they graduate to the real thing. Perhaps you should learn to distinguish between those who disagree with you and the real terrorist thing. It’s helpful if you are making policy proposals.



A Few Practical Words on Immigration by The Elephant's Child

From Hillsdale College’s Imprimus:
“Practical Thoughts on Immigration”
by Heather MacDonald

The lesson from the last 20 years of immigration policy is that lawlessness breeds more lawlessness. Once a people or a government decides to normalize one form of lawbreaking, other forms of lawlessness will follow until finally the rule of law itself is in profound jeopardy. Today, we have a constitutional crisis on our hands. President Obama has decided that because Congress has not granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens living in the U.S., he will do it himself. Let us ponder for a moment just how shameless this assertion of power is.

Article 2, Section 3, of the Constitution mandates that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This provision assumes that there is a law for the president to execute. But in this case, the “problem” that Obama is purporting to fix is the absence of a law granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Rather than executing a law, Obama is making one up—arrogating to himself a function that the Constitution explicitly allocates to Congress. Should this unconstitutional power grab stand, we will have moved very far in the direction of rule by dictator. Pace Obama. the absence of a congressional law granting amnesty is not evidence of political failure that must somehow be corrected by unilateral executive action; it is evidence of the lack of popular consensus regarding amnesty. There has been no amnesty statute to date because the political will for such an amnesty is lacking.

Imprimus is a free monthly publication from Hillsdale College. Hillsdale also offers free online courses. (online.hillsdale.edu)



Is the Left Stealing the Coal Industry? No Morals Or Honor? by The Elephant's Child

I’m not particularly interested in conspiracies. I do my share of speculating about cause and results, but in general I want evidence, trusted sources, and some kind of proof. But I found this particular post from Tom Lifson at American Thinker intriguing.

Now comes the shocking news, via Steve Milloy writing on Breitbart, that following President Obama’s use of CO2 emissions as a weapon to drive major coal companies near bankruptcy, the ultimate politically connected speculator George Soros is buying up stock in major coal producers on the cheap.

I predicted in this column last week that the left wasn’t going to kill off the coal industry so much as it was going to steal it. That prediction is already becoming true courtesy of billionaire George Soros.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Act filings indicate that Soros has purchased an initial 1 million shares of Peabody Energy and 553,200 shares of Arch Coal, the two largest publicly traded U.S. coal companies. As pointed out last week, both companies have been driven perilously close to bankruptcy by the combination of President Obama’s “war on coal” and inexpensive natural gas brought on by the hydrofracturing revolution.

Well, isn’t that interesting. Are Democrats just fixated on doing what they want, and never mind the law or propriety? It would seem so. The same George Soros apparently paid protesters from Ferguson to go to Baltimore and try to stir up trouble — at least according to the protesters who were complaining about not getting paid. Al Gore has used Global Warming to amass a fortune, yet does not observe any of the rules that he espouses to save energy himself. Tom Steyer made his fortune in oil and natural gas, and now tries to manipulate federal policy to stop the Keystone pipeline. Lots of conspiracy material.



Affordable? Not So Much. Some Big Hikes. by The Elephant's Child

Conservatives have always giggled at the title chosen for ObamaCare — “the Affordable Care Act” — because having observed all the tricks and mandates crammed in, knew it was going to be increasingly unaffordable. And so it is. State Insurance Commissioners are beginning to report in.

Obama said at a July town hall in Nashville, Tennessee that he expected premiums to come in significantly lower than what’s being requested. He added that Tennesseans had to work to ensure the state’s insurance commissioner “does their job in not just passively reviewing the rates, but really asking, “O.K, what is it that you are looking for here? Why would you need very high premiums?”

The Tennessee commissioner, Julie Mix McPeak responded on Friday by approving the full 36.3% increase sought by the biggest health plan in the state, BlueCrossBlueShield of Tennessee. She said the insurer demonstrated that the hefty increase was needed to cover higher than expected claims from sick people who signed up for individual policies in the first two years of the Affordable Care Act.

Oregon’s Laura Call allowed an average 25.6% increase for that state’s biggest plan. In Ohio, it was 14.5%, in Michigan, 11.4%.

Democrats typically add mandates designed to make particular groups like the plan, then are astonished to find that it costs a lot more. Do remember that the Affordable Care Act was passed without a single Republican vote because Republicans thought it would not work and would soon become unaffordable. They just had no idea that it would happen quite so soon.

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Some plans offered low rates for the first and second year eager to  capture new business. Others simply found that business was more expensive than expected. Some programs designed to cushion insurers  against high risk participants are ending. Some state commissioners have not yet reported their decisions, or completed their analysis.




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