American Elephants


The Growth of Federal Regulation by The Elephant's Child

This video is a couple of years old, but the lesson is clear. The Federal government is adding agencies regularly, needed or not, and those agencies are promulgating regulations left and right. In most cases they not only put out regulations, but determine whether they are followed, and judge the punishments to be handed out, take your property, and increasingly have the armed forces to do so.



It’s a Big Job, How Do You Start? by The Elephant's Child

Over at National Review, David French explains what a monumental job reducing the reach of the regulatory state is.

At present, the vast and bloated executive branch — existing through its alphabet soup of agencies such as the EPA, IRS, DOE, ATF, and the like — intrudes into virtually every aspect of American life. It regulates your workplace, your home, your car, and your kids’ school. It’s staffed by legions of bureaucrats who enjoy job security that private-sector employees can only dream of, and it’s granted legal authority by the Supreme Court to interpret its own governing statutes and expand the scope of its own authority. In its own spheres of influence, it often acts as legislator, prosecutor, and judge. …

To dismantle the administrative state, the executive and legislative branches will have to act against their perceived political interests. The executive will have to intentionally surrender power, and the legislature will have to accept accountability. In other words, Donald Trump — as a matter of formal policy — will have to abandon an ideology that says he “alone” can fix this nation, and the legislature will have to embrace the reality of casting hard votes, day after day and week after week. Let’s not forget, the administrative state exists in large part because Congress has intentionally abdicated authority. It passes extraordinarily broad bills that empower executive-branch agencies to write even more law and impose even more restrictions. Congress goes home and says, “We voted for clean air,” while the EPA does all the heavy lifting to define what that really means. Or Congress says, “We voted for banking reform and better markets,” while an array of agencies promulgate rule after rule affecting companies from coast to coast. Congress takes credit for its intentions. It blames others for the outcomes.

To dismantle the administrative state, the executive and legislative branches will have to act against their perceived political interests. The executive will have to intentionally surrender power, and the legislature will have to accept accountability. In other words, Donald Trump — as a matter of formal policy — will have to abandon an ideology that says he “alone” can fix this nation, and the legislature will have to embrace the reality of casting hard votes, day after day and week after week. Let’s not forget, the administrative state exists in large part because Congress has intentionally abdicated authority. It passes extraordinarily broad bills that empower executive-branch agencies to write even more law and impose even more restrictions. Congress goes home and says, “We voted for clean air,” while the EPA does all the heavy lifting to define what that really means. Or Congress says, “We voted for banking reform and better markets,” while an array of agencies promulgate rule after rule affecting companies from coast to coast. Congress takes credit for its intentions. It blames others for the outcomes.

Do read the whole thing:



The Tyranny of the Administrative State by The Elephant's Child

wy-pond-550x309You will be hearing a lot more about “the administrative state” in the coming days and weeks. The name sounds way too bureaucratty to be of interest, but phrased a little differently, more like—the Progressives are a bunch of control freaks and want to ruin your life and your freedom with a constant flow of regulation to satisfy their own egos.   That’s much clearer, and unfortunately true.

This seems especially clear because I’m just back from a trip to Home Depot for lightbulbs. If you have recently faced the lightbulb display at Home Depot or any similar store, you know what I mean. The federal government decided that the fear of global warming justified banning our dependable, cheap, incandescent bulbs and thrusting upon us all sorts of unsatisfactory junk from China—twisty bulbs, 40 watt bulbs that are now supposed to light as well as 75 watt but don’t use up so much energy and so on. What was once a simple shopping trip has turned into a confusing nightmare. Besides, I personally believe that this has nothing to do with “saving energy” and everything to do with the fact that the lighting companies would make a lot more money if they could force us to use the noxious new bulbs made in China, that being why they have all those lobbyists in D.C. (crony capitalism).

Conservatives talk a lot about Liberty and the Constitution, but I’m afraid that that just passes millennials by. Our founding fathers were only recently subjects of England, and they had revolted and fought  a war to escape what they considered tyranny and a far too administrative state. When they were writing a new constitution for the country, Liberty was paramount in their minds. How could they insure that generations hence would not lightly lose all that they had fought for? They were deeply familiar with ambition and greed, power-seeking, and all the other flaws of humanity. So they devised a system of three equal branches, so that no one branch could exert control over the others—and in general, it has worked pretty well.

When the European Union was being devised to prevent the continual wars that had plagued the continent, Valery Giscard d’ Estang, a former French President, was elected to the commission to devise a constitution for the EU. The commission looked at the U.S. Constitution, but could not imagine devolving so much power to the people. So the EU became the unaccountable body to which much of Europe is revolting and considering leaving, as Britain is now doing.

Here’s an example of how the modern administrative state tramples all over the separation of powers from Steven Hayward’s new book: Patriotism Is Not Enough. A classic paragraph from Boston University law professor Gary Lawson, in his 1994 Harvard Law Review article “The Rise and Rise of the Administrative State.”

The [Federal Trade] Commission promulgates substantive rules of conduct. The Commission then considers whether to authorize investigations into whether the Commission’s rules have been violated. If the Commission authorizes an investigation, the investigation is conducted by the Commission, which reports its findings to the Commission. If the Commission thinks that the Commission’s findings warrant an enforcement action, the Commission issues a complaint. The Commission’s complaint that a Commission rule has been violated is then prosecuted by the Commission and adjudicated by the Commission. This Commission adjudication can either take place before the full Commission or before a semi-autonomous Commission administrative law judge. If the Commission chooses to adjudicate before an administrative law judge rather than before the Commission and the decision is adverse to the Commission, the Commission can appeal to the Commission. If the Commission ultimately finds a violation, then, and only then, the affected private party can appeal to an Article III court. But the agency decision, even before the bona fide Article III tribunal, possesses a very strong presumption of correctness on matters both of fact and of law.

It’s only funny until they start coming after you. We’ve reported on Gibson Guitars, and the Sacketts case in Northern Idaho, and rancher Andy Johnson building a stock pond  (above) on his property, but those are only a few of the big ones. Notable because they were so outrageous and so stupid. But excellent examples of the administrative state at work. How do you fight fines of $35,000 a day? How about telling all the school kids in the country what they have to eat for lunch? Or how about ordering all the bathrooms and locker rooms to be open to anyone who wants to come in?



Why America Must Lead by The Elephant's Child



The Laws of the United States of America Are Going to be Enforced. by The Elephant's Child

john-kelly-testifies-1500-20-jan-2017-ts600John Kelly, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has issued two memoranda directed to the federal agencies that are involved in implementing executive orders or immigration. The memoranda are clearly intended to tell ICE and the Border Patrol and other agencies that the United States laws on immigration are now going to be enforced.

It’s not all going to happen overnight, new resources will be required including the hiring of 10,000 new ICE officers and agents. The memorandum titled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest” makes it explicitly clear that it is the president’s constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. We have a president who takes his oath of office seriously. This should not be news, but in the wake of Barack Obama’s abdication, it is. Kelly’s memoranda reads, in part:

Except as specifically noted above, the Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. In faithfully executing the immigration laws, Department personnel should take enforcement actions in accordance with applicable law. In order to achieve this goal, as noted below, I have directed ICE to hire 10,000 officers and agents expeditiously, subject to available resources, and to take enforcement actions consistent with available resources. However, in order to maximize the benefit to public safety, to stem unlawful migration and to prevent fraud and misrepresentation, Department personnel should prioritize for removal those aliens described by Congress in Sections 212(a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(6)(C), 235(b) and (c), and 237(a)(2) and (4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Victor Davis Hanson points out the complications. Activists portray illegal immigration as a tale of the desperately poor from south of the border seeking a new productive life in the U.S., but the Mexican government keeps taxes low on their elites by exporting their own poor citizens who will send remittances back to Mexico—some $25 billion from Mexican citizens working in America—to support the Mexican economy. Mexico’s approach to immigration enforcement on their own southern border is sterner, and perhaps you remember the U.S. military member who got confused at the border crossing into Mexico, got into the wrong line and ended up in a Mexican prison for his error. And of course the Mexican government is having fits at President Trump’s tweets.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly were in Mexico today to meet with the Mexican government. The current initiative is focused  primarily on those illegal aliens who threaten national security, border security or public safety. But being here illegally is unlawful.

President Obama wanted to use illegal immigrants’ numbers to change the demographics in districts currently unfavorable to Democrats. Which makes the attempts to conflate illegal aliens and illegal immigrants and legal immigrants in the public mind clearer. If most people don’t understand the difference between the popular vote and the electoral college vote, that makes it easier to change the vote by changing the population of a district. Thus, most of those who violated our immigration laws got a pass.

That is coming to a halt. “DHS no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. Any illegal immigrant encountered in the course of normal law -enforcement  operations will be subject to deportation.” In other words, our laws will be enforced. It is only in America that deporting aliens or those who have overstayed their visas is a big deal. In virtually every other country immigration enforcement is an uncontroversial part of national life. Canada deports about 13,000 people annually. Australia deports 10,000 people annually, and they intercept illegal boat migrants by denying them any claim to refugee status by not allowing them to land.

The vast majority of Americans oppose the idea of sanctuary cities. A new Harris poll shows that 89% of voters say local authorities should have to comply with the law by reporting illegal immigrants, and the president has broad public support for cracking down on sanctuary cities. American Hispanic citizens are no more favorable to illegal aliens than the rest of us.

Is it possible that the Democrats are on the wrong track here? It would seem so, but if they have a death wish for their party, who am I to interfere?



The Oroville Dam Drama, Explained In Full by The Elephant's Child

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The pictures of the Oroville Dam spillway and the power of the vast rush of water are both beautiful and frightening. It seemed sure that the dam would collapse. So many people were evacuated. Climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer had very thorough coverage at his website: www.drroyspencer.com . Lots of pictures, diagrams, charts to show the watershed of the dam,  the damage to the spillway, the history, everything the armchair geologist might want to know and more. A little raw nature is a nice relief after all the raw emotion on the streets.



I Could Almost Feel Sorry For Them. Almost, But I Don’t. by The Elephant's Child

article-2548628-1b12dcf800000578-568_964x632The whole world must seem like it is falling into chaos for the Progressives. They lost the election they were so confident they would win. They keep claiming that Hillary won the popular vote, but that’s not how we count elections in America. The abhorrent Donald Trump, now President of the United States, is hiring a superb cabinet and getting them approved. He has ordered a go-ahead on the Keystone XL Pipeline and noxious oil will be flowing south to refineries in the Gulf, and not only that, he has okayed the Dakota Access pipeline. Since it is not on tribal lands, except in memory of ancient times, does not risk oil despoiling the Missouri River or the tribal water supply, the protesters will have to find another venue.

But just wait till the progressives find out the details of their massive global warming fraud. Obama wanted to look good for the Paris climate talks, and the fraud is exposed. Cheaters never prosper. I Could Almost Feel Sorry For Them.

Dr. John Bates, a former high level NOAA scientist, set off a furor by revealing that a recent NOAA paper, which claimed global warming hadn’t “paused” during the past 20 years, was fraudulent. The paper was timed to undergird Obama’s signing of the hugely expensive Paris climate agreement.

This is only a tiny fraction of the climate fraud.

Fortunately, high-tech research has finally sorted out the “mystery factor” in our recent climate changes—and it’s mostly not CO2.  Even redoubling carbon dioxide, by itself, would raise earth’s temperature only 1.1 degree.  That’s significant, but not dangerous.

CERN, the world’s top particle physics laboratory, just found that our big, abrupt climate changes are produced by variations in the sun’s activity.  That’s the same sun the modelers had dismissed as “unchanging.”  CERN says the sun’s variations interact with cosmic rays to create more or fewer of earth’s heat-shielding clouds.  The IPCC had long admitted it couldn’t model clouds–and now the CERN experiment says the clouds are the earth’s thermostats!

Do read the whole thing, a good explanation of how the climate modellers went astray, and it will give you enough information to take on any Progressive who is sure the construction of the pipelines are the destruction of the earthly climate as we know it. And they finally got the noxious mess the protesters left behind to despoil the planet cleaned up.

I’m enjoying it all thoroughly.




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