American Elephants


Violation of the Logan Act is a Felony by The Elephant's Child

The Boston Globe reported on Friday that former Secretary of State John Kerry is engaging in “shadow diplomacy” with Iran, working secretly with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to save the “Iran Deal.” I have never been an admirer of Mr. Kerry, but this is really beyond the pale.¹

He sat down at the United Nations with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to discuss ways of preserving the pact limiting Iran’s nuclear weapons program. It was the second time in about two months that the two had met to strategize over salvaging a deal they spent years negotiating during the Obama administration, according to a person briefed on the meetings.

With the Iran deal facing its gravest threat since it was signed in 2015, Kerry has been on an aggressive yet stealthy mission to preserve it, using his deep lists of contacts gleaned during his time as the top US diplomat to try to apply pressure on the Trump administration from the outside. President Trump, who has consistently criticized the pact and campaigned in 2016 on scuttling it, faces a May 12 deadline to decide whether to continue abiding by its terms.

Kerry also met last month with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and he’s been on the phone with top European Union official Federica Mogherini, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal the private meetings. Kerry has also met with French President Emmanuel Macron in both Paris and New York, conversing over the details of sanctions and regional nuclear threats in both French and English.

The Obama administration seemed to believe that the evil Bush administration took us into an unnecessary war and killed a lot of Americans for no reason. They figured they would just turn all those little states like Iraq, Lebanon, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan , Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and whoever I forgot, over to Iraq to manage, then we could all have world peace.

Did these people just assume that these people who talk constantly about eliminating Israel, death to America, reestablishing the Caliphate that controlled the entire Mediterranean really don’t mean it? How could a former Secretary of State believe that Iran, with their well known history, believe that they would just shelve their nuclear program and their vicious hatred for the West and make nice with the UN? Did Mr. Kerry not see Prime Minister Netanyahu’s presentation?

This is a clear violation of the Logan Act², which does not get called up all that often. The meaning, however, is very clear, If you’re not authorized to speak for America, you do not get to. When your term is done, it’s done. You are just an ordinary citizen, and the fact that you were once, has no bearing.

The Left was enraged when the Trump administration was inaugurated and took power. They were enraged when Trump went out and started doing things. They have been enraged at everything that has been done. I mentioned before that I believe that they were deeply shocked, not only when Trump won the election, but that it was because of the Electoral College (to which they had never paid much attention) and are now determined to eliminate. They have no understanding of why the founders created such a gimmick. And above all, it was the map of counties in the country that went for Trump. It was red at every level of government clear across the country. In other words they are deeply scared.

The depth and irresponsibility of their hatred is exposed frequently, most notably in Kathy Griffin’s holding up a realistic-appearing severed and bloody Donald Trump head — and assuming that it would be accepted as a joke. That level of naivety is not only common but nearly universal. It suggests a deep ignorance of what it is the other party believes, which is why we get called “deplorables” and Fascists, and Racists, among other vulgarities. Any Democrat should be embarrassed to call a Republican a “racist”, but apparently they are unfamiliar with their own history, as well as the history of the country.

¹beyond the pale: adv, or adj. phr. In disgrace; with no chance of being respected by others; nor approved by the members of a group.

²The Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 18 U.S.C. § 953, enacted January 30, 1799) is a United States federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments having a dispute with the U.S. It was intended to prevent the undermining of the government’s position.

ADDENDUM:  I should have added that nobody actually prosecutes anybody with The Logan Act. I presume that it seems so obvious that one should not behave in such a manner, that it seems superfluous. And than the Logan Act itself is very old. Perhaps we should dust it off, and take it seriously once again.

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Seventeen States Attack EPA Vehicle Emission Standards. Weak Legal Case, Big Publicity. by The Elephant's Child

Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator is doing a marvelous job, rolling back one bad EPA regulation after another, and the Left wants his head. He believes that credible science and transparency are necessary elements of sound policy. Well, we can’t have that. He believes that the EPA should no longer enjoy free rein to impose major regulations that are based on studies that are not available for public scrutiny. And the environmental lobby is having hissy-fits. Their claim that research subjects’ privacy would be violated is nonsense. Personal information is not even relevant in agency rule-making.

The environmental group’s rallying cry was that the public has a “right to know” for public disclosure requirements on the private sector that included informational labeling, emissions reporting, workplace safety warnings, beach advisories, and pending enforcement actions.

The proposed rule is aligned with the Data Access Act which requires federal agencies to ensure that data which is produced under grants or agreements with universities, hospitals and nonprofit organizations is available to the public through the Freedom of Information Act.

Legislation was passed by the House last year to prohibit the EPA from “proposing, finalizing or disseminating a covered action unless all scientific and technical information which was relied on to support the action is the best available science, specifically identified, and publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results. The EPA, among other obfuscations, was blaming all sorts of things on causing asthma in children—totally ignoring the fact that physicians do not know what causes asthma. That sort of thing. EPA regulation has expanded exponentially every decade since the 1970s at tremendous expense to the nation. The science that supported the regulation was apparently a secret.

California, joined by 16 states and the District of Columbia has petitioned the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to stop EPA Administrator Pruitt from revising his predecessor’s greenhouse gas emission standards for new cars sold in 2022-2025. Their press release claimed that their “lawsuit is based on the fact that the EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously, failed to follow its own regulations, and violated the Clean Air Act.”

Well, no this is not a final action. The EPA rule specifically states that if EPA decides the standards are appropriate, that “decision will be the final agency action which will also be subject to judicial review on its merits.”

The Obama era EPA’s rush to judgment was for the political purpose of confronting the incoming Trump administration with a regulatory fait accompli, and it produced an agenda-driven rulemaking rather than an evidence-based rulemaking. There was supposed to be a harmonized national vehicle program. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers warns that” the process now bears no resemblance to the coordinated effort that was envisioned in the midterm evaluation.”

It’s bad enough that the federal government presumes to determine for all consumers the relative importance of fuel efficiency compared to other vehicle attributes such as affordability, size, safety, utility, comfort, and style. States should not have a say in determining such tradeoffs in what every reasonable person acknowledges should be a national market.

The nation’s fuel economy statute, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, prohibits states from adopting or enforcing laws or regulations “related to” fuel economy. California’s greenhouse gas emission standards are strongly related to fuel economy standards, because carbon dioxide (CO2) constitutes 94.9 percent of vehicular GHG emissions, and “there is a single pool of technologies … that reduce fuel consumption and thereby CO2 emissions as well” (75 FR 25372).

The top ten automobile producing states are Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, Texas, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. California is not on the list. Their lawsuit is vastly premature as they can only sue for a “final action” which isn’t anywhere near the case. So we can assume that this is some kind of grandstanding. Pruitt’s determination that the Obama rules are not appropriate is based on new information about fuel prices, projected vehicle cost, consumer preferences and other relevant factors. The proposed notice of withdrawal summarizes the viewpoints of experts who disagree with the agency’s assessments. It just doesn’t reach the conclusion that California wants. With the 17 state lawsuit, however, you will hear a lot about how the Trump EPA is trying to destroy the environment and make automobiles noxious gas emission spewing horrors, or something like that. Trump Derangement Syndrome.



There’s Good Economic News by The Elephant's Child
May 6, 2018, 2:27 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

The US unemployment rate has dropped to a near 17½ year low of 3.9 percent. It was the second straight monthly drop in the participation rate. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the unemployment rate falling to 4.0 percent.

The dollar paid no attention to the employment data and rose to its highest level this year against a basket of currencies. Jobs are widely available, but there is shortage in some needed skills.

The media is not anxious to extol any good news about the economy. but bits do get through now and then. Things are going well. Valerie Jarrett popped up to claim that the good news was because of Obama’s efforts.




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