American Elephants


Is This the Start of Something Big? by The Elephant's Child

—Knoxville, Iowa:  The town had placed a temporary memorial to fallen soldiers in their city park. It was a silhouette display of a kneeling soldier with a white cross, meant to help the town raise the soldier-memorial-knoxville-IA-WHO-HD-640x480money for a permanent memorial. A citizen, an atheist citizen, complained demanding that it be removed because of the Christian cross, claiming that it violated the separation of church and state. The city council promptly folded in fear of a court fight. In response some 2,000 small white crosses were planted in front yards all over town. The voters promptly voted out the town council.

—In the three states where the proportion of residents without health insurance declined the most, Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia, all elected Republican Senate candidates who oppose the Affordable Care Act. Control of the West Virginia House of Delegates flipped from Democrats to Republicans. Arkansas elected Republican supermajorities to both house and senate along with a Republican governor.

— Croatia’s conservative opposition won the country’s first election since it joined the European Union in 2013 in response to the migrant issue, seeking stricter border controls to manage the flow of people crossing the small Adriatic state of 4.4 million. This follows a landmark victory by opposition conservatives in Poland last month. The Polish Law and Justice party pledges to oppose mandatory quotas for relocation of migrants in the EU.

—Violence erupted in the streets of Berlin as thousands of 2E343CFA00000578-0-image-a-88_1446926053681anti-immigration protesters took to the streets to protest against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy. Refugees have turned out to be quite demanding, rejecting food not to their taste, and expecting full welfare benefits.

— Washington State voters have approved an initiative to cut the state sales tax if lawmakers don’t allow a vote on a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority for a tax increase. Voters in this left coast state have made it clear that they want the authority to amend their state constitution to require a supermajority to approve a tax increase. Voters have repeatedly approved ballot measures requiring a two-thirds majority for any tax hike.  The initiative specifies it will lower the state sales tax from 6.5% to 5.5% if the legislature does not follow through.

—Last November, President Obama expanded eligibility for a program the president set up in 2012 to allow immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to get “deferred action” status and be eligible to work legally. The new effort also included a new initiative to grant the same status to illegal immigrants who are the parents of U.S. citizens or green card holders. Up to 5 million people were estimated to be eligible. Republicans objected, claiming the president was exceeding his authority under the Constitution.  Judge Andrew Hanen blocked the effort nationwide, saying that the changes to immigration were so significant that the administration needed to put them out for official notice and comment before moving forward. Obama appealed. The 5th Circuit praised Hanen’s ruling, calling it “impressive and thorough.” The Appeals court said — you can’t do that. The Fifth Circuit asserted that the separation of powers remains the law of the land, and the president must follow the rule of law, just like everybody else.

—Perhaps this is just a hungering for people to stand up and say, as the Court did to President Obama — You can’t do that! Europeans are beginning to stand up to the EU and to their governments who have gone too far. College administrators seem frightened by students behaving badly, and at a loss to know what to do. I’ve been nattering on about one example or another for quite a while. Are these examples signs of something or other, or is it just wishful thinking?



Obama Kills the Keystone Pipeline Again, to Preserve America’s “Global Leadership” on Climate Change. by The Elephant's Child

Obama announced on Friday that “the State Department would not permit the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying that the project’s completion would rob  the U.S . of the moral authority to pressure other countries toward action on climate change.”

“If we’re going to prevent large parts of this earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky,”

Oh please! What a load of what we used to call, politely, road apples. Of course Obama would blame it on the State Department, which had previously approved the Keystone twice, once under Hillary and once under Kerry. Even the State of Nebraska has approved it.

Imagine, we have denied oil market access to our ally Canada, along with access to our refineries, but granted it to Iran.

The Canadian oil will go to market. It is going to market now, by rail. I heard there was a derailment today, but no spill this time. It is safer, considerably safer, by pipeline. It’s not as if we didn’t have all sorts of pipelines already, quite safely. Moving oil through a pipeline does not release CO2 to the atmosphere, and if it did, it would be a good thing. CO2 is not a pollutant. It is plant food, and makes plants grow. More food to feed a hungry world.

The oil refineries in the Gulf have tripled their processing supplies of Canadian crude since 2010 to more than 300,000 barrels a day. The urgent need for the pipeline is down because of the decline in oil prices from $100 a barrel to $45, which puts a damper on future growth.

Canadian and US Crude Oil Pipeline Proposals(click to enlarge)

The Seaway Crude Pipeline System (SCPS), commonly called the Seaway Pipeline transports crude oil between Cushing, Oklahoma and Freeport, Texas  to the Texas City, Texas Terminal and Distribution System on the Gulf Coast.

For many years the Seaway shipped oil north to Cushing, but in June 2012, the flow was reversed to ship oil south out of Cushing instead. President Obama flew to Cushing a while back, for a photo-op in front of a bunch of big oil pipes.

And America’s ‘Global Leadership’ is becoming more and more of a joke. ” And frankly,” Obama said, “approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.” More likely Tom Steyer’s money.

House speaker Paul Ryan described Obama’s decision as “sickening” in a brief statement. “By rejecting this pipeline, the president is rejecting tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. He is rejecting our largest trading partner and energy supplier,” Ryan said. “He is rejecting the will of the American people and a bipartisan majority of the Congress. If the president wants to spend the rest of his time in office catering to special interests, that’s his choice to make. But it’s just wrong.”

Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America said “The president nay be celebrated by environmental extremists, but with this act, President Obama has also solidified a legacy as a pompous, pandering job killer.” Ouch!




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