American Elephants

Thanks, Obama! U.S. Drops to Number 20 In The Human Freedom Index. by The Elephant's Child
August 21, 2015, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Environment, Health Care, Freedom, Progressivism, Taxes, Capitalism, Regulation, Bureaucracy

The Cato Institute, the Libertarian think-tank, publishes an annual Human Freedom Index, ranking 152 countries in the world according to the level of liberty enjoyed by its citizens.

The index represents a broad measure of human freedom. which can be understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 76 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in these areas:

Rule of Law
Security and Safety
Association, Assembly, and Civil Society
Size of Government
Legal System and Property Rights
Access to Sound Money
Freedom to Trade Internationally
Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business

This reflects the degree to which people enjoy the freedom to engage in voluntary exchange and enjoy major liberties such as freedom of speech, religion and association. Also measures freedom of movement, women’s freedoms, safety and security and the rule of law.

Hong Kong and Switzerland top the list, followed by Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Malta, Luxembourg, Chile, Mauritius —and finally, The United States at Number 20, followed by the Czech Republic, Estonia, Belgium, Taiwan and Portugal.

The U.S. was 17th in 2014. but think of EPA regulations, scheduled speakers disinvited, the government confiscating a big chunk of a raisin farmer’s crop, ObamaCare regulations, you might try tallying up the new constraints you have seen or felt. Swat teams breaking into the wrong house, Lois Lerner, the attack by the Left on anything connected to the South and it’s Civil War history. The attack on free speech has been not only notable, but widespread — things you cannot say. So we are at number 20 and declining. We talk a lot about the Left’s drive for increased regulation and increased control — and just look at where that’s got us!


Bald Eagles Win: You Don’t Get to Chop Up Our National Bird! by The Elephant's Child


When the federal government got all excited about cheap, clean, renewable energy by harnessing the wind, the gullible talked a lot about “natural,” and “free.” They looked for sites where there seemed to be the most continuous wind, which often turned out to be mountain passes which were also natural flyways for raptors and migratory birds.

Quite a few things were wrong with their plans. The mountain passes and flyways were not located anywhere near to power plants, and hooking up the energy was expensive. Eagles were listed as a protected species. The Obama administration was more interested in wind energy than in a bunch of birds, so they crafted a rule to give wind farms a legal path to “accidentally kill” eagles, as long as they agree to a number of mitigation and monitoring requirements to ensure that the population of eagles remained stable. The Bald Eagle is our national bird, hero of patriotic films and videos, and you don’t get to just chop them up.

dead_white-tailed_eagle-5001-e1416108699316Bird advocacy groups argued that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lacked the resources or know-how to ensure that permits actually benefit the nation’s official bird, and its golden cousins. The American Bird Conservancy issued the following press release yesterday in response to a U.S. District Court ruling.

(Washington, D.C., August 12, 2015) The U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, in San Jose has ruled that the Department of the Interior violated federal laws when it created a final regulation allowing wind energy and some other companies to obtain 30-year permits to kill protected Bald and Golden Eagles without prosecution by the federal government.

(Washington, D.C., August 12, 2015) The U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, in San Jose has ruled that the Department of the Interior violated federal laws when it created a final regulation allowing wind energy and some other companies to obtain 30-year permits to kill protected Bald and Golden Eagles without prosecution by the federal government.

I’d love to see the court costs for the efforts of the Obama administration to avoid complying with the law. Obama really doesn’t want to be bothered with laws and Constitutions, but go ahead and do it anyway, and just try to stop me. That ancient bit about “to the best of my Ability. preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America,” is so inconvenient.

Not a Lot of Media Coverage of the Decline and Fall of the EPA by The Elephant's Child

gty_mine_wastewater_spill_03_jc_150811_4x3_992-e1439327486898-620x266Have you noticed that there is not a lot of media coverage about the big EPA toxic mine tailings spill? Have you noticed that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is not out in the Navajo lands consulting with Navajo Nation president Russell Begaye? The spill has been quietly upped from one million gallons to three million gallons, but that’s pretty complicated math and probably nobody knows.

This is very big and very bad news for the EPA and for the Obama Administration. It has been six days, and we still don’t know just what happened, just how toxic the surge is, and how long-lasting it will be. They have spoken of  toxic metals, lead, arsenic, cadmium (which I assume is responsible for the yellow color) and what else? There are lots of farms and ranches. How do they cope with water being trucked in, and what do they do with their livestock?

Perhaps the national press will take notice when the plume of yellow muck reaches the Grand Canyon National Park. I have been interested to see the utter contempt with which many seem to regard the Environmental Protection Agency.

Weather Forecast: Increasingly Scary Headlines. Pay No Attention. by The Elephant's Child

There is a big global Climate Change meeting in Paris, in December. The propaganda designed to ramp up enthusiasm or terror, as the case may be, will increase. A story by Larry Kummer at”Watts Up With That” reminds us of some of the excess in preparation for the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December of 2009 to prepare us for what to expect. Clearly, the end is near and time is running out.

(1) President ‘has four years to save Earth’” says climate scientist James Hansen in The Guardian, 17 January 2009.

(2) Global warming has reached a ‘defining moment,’ Prince Charles warns” in The Telegraph, 12 March 2009. “The world has “less than 100 months” to save the planet.

(3) We have hours’ to prevent climate disaster” by Elizabeth May (Member of Parliament and leader of Canada’s Green Party) in The Star (Toronto), 24 March 2009. This was run as news, not an op-ed.

(4) “Just 96 months to save world, says Prince Charles” in The Independent. 9 July 2009. “If the world failed to heed his warnings then we all faced the ‘nightmare that for so many of us now looms on the horizon’.”

(5) “Five years to save world from climate change, says WWF“, Australian Broadcasting Company, 18 October 2009 — Excerpt…

“Karl Mallon, a scientist with Climate Risk and one of the key authors of the report, says 2014 has been calculated as the point at which there is no longer enough time to develop the industries that can deliver a low carbon economy. ‘The point of no return,’ he said.

“’If we wait until past 2014 or that’s what modelling shows, then simply put, it will be impossible for industries to grow to the scale that has to be achieved in the time that is available.’”

(6) Gordon Brown said negotiators had 50 days to save the world from global warming and break the “impasse”.“, BBC, 19 October 2009. Brown was the UK PM.

A good time was had by all in picturesque Copenhagen, an expense account-funded vacation with their peers. Journalists evaluated the meeting as a failure. The world was not saved, but continued on in its ongoing pause of 18 years and 7 months of an absence of any warming to worry about. Never fear.

Western Morning News: 18 July, 2015: “His Royal Highness (Prince Charles) warns that we have just 35 years to save the planet from catastrophic climate change.”

The Navajo Nation Will Take Legal Action Against the EPA. Good Luck to Them by The Elephant's Child

“They are not going to get away with this.”

……………………………………– Russell Begaye,
……………………………………..president of the Navajo Nation

The toxic waste is proceeding inexorably downriver. People were advised not to use water for cooking, drinking or bathing before having their water tested. EPA Region 8 administrator Shaun McGrath acknowledged the possibility of long-term damage from toxic metals. Cadmium is responsible for the orange color. The Navajo nation will take legal action. Begaye has instructed the Navajo Nation Department of Justice to take immediate action against the EPA to protect Navajo families and resources.

The plume of sludge is expected to reach the heavily used Lake Powell by Wednesday. Downriver are the Grand Canyon National Park, Hoover Dam, and the water supplies of Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. At least 30 million people are dependent on Colorado River water. This is a very big deal.

When the EPA went after the Sacketts in Priest Lake, Idaho for disturbing a residential lot with a view of the lake, claiming it was a “wetland”, the EPA fined them $37,000 a day for grading the lot in an established development. The EPA has a history of enormous fines designed to frighten the fined into immediate compliance. The Supreme Court put an end to the EPA’s overreach, but any public sympathy for the EPA has pretty much evaporated. I’m with the Navajo Nation on this one.

Massive Toxic Spill Desecrates Pristine Wilderness.The Negligent Party Will Probably Get Off With an Oops! by The Elephant's Child


A million-gallon toxic-waste spill sent a huge plume of orange muck down the Animas River in southwest Colorado on Thursday was caused by the EPA’s very own cleanup crew which was working with heavy equipment to secure an entrance to the Gold King Mine.

Workers, instead managed to release an estimated one million gallons of mine waste into Cement reek, which runs into the Animas River, which in turn flows into the San Juan River in New Mexico and joins the Colorado River in Utah, which flows through the Grand Canyon, and eventually provides water for drought-stricken California. Why before you know it the muck would reach some of the “navigable waters” which the EPA is charged with protecting under the Clean Waters Act. For Shame!

The wastewater released contains heavy metals including lead, arsenic, cadmium, and aluminum. Newsweek reported that the orange color was reminiscent of cheap mac and cheese.

Were anyone else to so pollute the “navigable waters of the United States of America” the EPA would be fining them umpty-ump million dollars a day, and taking away all their toys.

Officials emphasized that there was no threat to drinking water from the spill. But downstream water agencies were warned to avoid Animas water until the plume passes, said David Ostrander, director of EPA’s emergency response program in Denver….The acidic sludge is made of heavy metal and soil, which could irritate the skin, he said….

The plume made its way to Durango on Thursday afternoon, prompting La Plata County health officials to warn rafters and others to avoid the water. The scenic waterway was the backdrop for parts of the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and is popular with summer boaters.

Durango stopped pumping water out of the Animas River on Wednesday to make sure none of the waste could be sucked up into the city reservoir. It also suspended the transfers of raw water to a local golf course and Fort Lewis College. Pet owners were advised to keep dogs and livestock out of the Animas.

There’s a scenic railway out of Durango, with wonderful old steam trains with cinders flying. The tourists will be in for a surprise!  Orange muck. Totally Gross!


Patrick Moore Explains Climate Change by The Elephant's Child

Patrick Moore, when he was young and radical, was a founder of Greenpeace. He found, long ago, that Greenpeace was more interested in being radical than in having a relationship with truth and simple facts. Here he explains why and how the climate is always changing, why we cannot predict the future, and why the label “denier” which the Left tries to stick onto the folks who are interested in the real science of climate change, but don’t believe it is an approaching catastrophe — because we can’t predict the future.


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