American Elephants


The EPA Gets Slapped Down By the Federal Court Once Again by The Elephant's Child

McCarthy testifies before a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on her nomination to be administrator of the Environmental Protection AgencyFederal Judge Royce C. Lamberth  today warned the EPA not to discriminate against conservative groups in how it responds to open records requests. He said the agency may have lied to the court and showed “apathy and carelessness” in carrying out the law.

He said he could not prove that officials intentionally destroyed documents, but he described as an “absurdity” the way the EPA handled a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from Landmark Legal Foundation and the court case stemming from it—including late last week admitting that it misled the court about how it went about  “searching for documents.”

In a scorching 25-page opinion, the judge accused the agency of insulting him by first claiming it had conducted a full search for records, then years later retracted that claim in a footnote to another document without giving any explanation for how it erred.

“The recurrent instances of disregard that EPA employees display for FOIA obligations should not be tolerated by the agency,” the judge said. “This court would implore the executive branch to take greater responsibility in ensuring that all EPA FOIA requests — regardless of the political affiliation of the requester — are treated with equal respect and conscientiousness.”

This particular ruling can also be seen as a rebuke to President Obama who vowed to run the “most transparent administration in history” but has received constant challenges over how that vow has been carried out. Judge Lamberth made a point of the EPA delay of follow through on Landmark’s request until after the 2012 elections, and said explanations by EPA officials for why they failed to live up to the law “defied reason.”

Mark Levin, Landmark’s president, said it is up to the president to decide how to respond, but people should be fired. Nena Shaw and Eric Wachter, Judge Lamberth said, either lied to the court or showed utter indifference to the law.

Is it proper to send roses to a federal court? Probably not, but this arrogant agency certainly deserves a legal slap-down.



The Character of The President Is Being Exposed For All To See by The Elephant's Child

Goodness, we must have really irritated President Obama with that recent wave election. One might have hoped that it would lead to more cooperation, but he has proved that he has no ability, nor inclination,  to negotiate. It’s plainly his way or the highway. He ‘s gone full tyrant.

We have never before had a president who says essentially— the hell with the Constitution, I’m going to do exactly what I want. We’ve had advice handed down from our first president, and many subsequent presidents, but never one before that behaved like a petulant spoiled child.

What we need to understand is that for the present crop of progressives, the issue is never the issue. Our immigration system is not broken. It is not enforced. Obama wants poor, poorly educated peasants from Mexico and Central America because by giving them work permits and welfare benefits, food stamps, driver’s licenses and other goodies, they will be Democrat Party voters, and make America permanently Progressive and permanently socialist.

Regulating the internet as a public utility to protect users establishes government control over the web, who uses it, and what kind of speech will be allowed.

Threatening public officials if they don’t obey Obama’s illegal executive orders while they are questioned by Congress and the courts is reprehensible.

John Hinderaker, one of the attorneys at Powerline offers “A Modest Proposal For Amendments to the Constitution.” “Barack Obama’s scofflaw administration has revealed some ambiguities or omissions in our Constitution–loopholes, if you will–that should be closed via constitutional amendment, to eliminate the possibility that future administrations may also act lawlessly. I have in mind three amendments that should accomplish that purpose.”

Do read the whole thing, which explains the very brief amendments, and why we need each one. Just a matter of clarifying the wording so even ideologues can understand.



What Did Obama Mean By “Fundamentally Transform”? by The Elephant's Child

Obama lecturing

Most of us are apt to divide the world up into the good guys and the bad guys. Opposites.  Simplistic thinking, of course. No nuance. (when did that word slip into the daily vocabulary?) Winners and losers. Short and tall, rich and poor, hard-working and lazy, handsome and ugly, cruel and kind, smart and stupid. It helps us to understand those things we encounter in the world, we can modify our judgment later.

World War II was clear — Allies and Axis, and the Cold War — Communists and the Free World. Things began to get confused with the War in Vietnam. Protesters couldn’t decide who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. Jane Fonda has never been forgiven for her stupidity, but she was not alone among the far left. It was a confusing time, and when the Draft was ended, surprisingly so were the protests.

Questions today on the internet ask “Is Obama a Christian?” and “Is Obama a Muslim?” But those are the wrong questions. Obama has given every indication of signing up with the bad guys, the Axis, the Communists, and those who oppose our country. His dislike for the Israeli prime minister is obvious; his distaste for the United Kingdom is clear; his support for a deal with Iran; his support for the Muslim Brotherhood; for the deposed president of Egypt; inability to reach a status of forces agreement with Iraq; Benghazi; refusal to help the dissidents in Iran, and in Syria; and the silly outreach to Cuba; and the support for most anti-American governments in South America.

There is a pattern.  A pattern which is behind Rudy Giuliani’s asking if the president loves America. One would think that the media would be somewhat aware of the direction of the entire Obama administration, instead of dissolving in wrath when someone actually notices. (Or is that why the media boiled over —they’re beginning to notice?)

I think he is just doing exactly what he said he would do: attempt to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” Everybody was so excited with the idea of the first black president, the mellow baritone voice, the moving phraseology “Yes We Can!,” “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!,” that they didn’t really pay any attention to what he actually said that he wanted to do. I don’t think he is trying to destroy the country, he just wants to “fix” it.

We are paying the price for our inattention. And it’s up to us to find out exactly what he meant by “fundamentally transform.” It matters. It matters a lot.



Lessons For Obama, From 1793: George Washington Wrote: by The Elephant's Child

George Washington’ fifth Annual Message to Congress, was delivered on December 5, 1793, in written form. Speeches in those days had to be shouted, if there was a crowd — no microphones, no teleprompters — so President Washington’s Messages to Congress, even including his famous Farewell Address, were written, not spoken.

There are a number of passages in President Washington’s message that might recommend themselves to the attention of President Obama, as you will see.

President Washington expressed his humble gratitude for “the renewed testimony of public approbation” and for “the instances of affectionate partiality with which I have been honored by my country.” He would rather retire, but He will obey the suffrage which has “commanded me to resume the Executive power,” and he humbly “implores that Being on whose will the fate of nations depends to crown with success our mutual endeavors for the general happiness.”

He needs Congress to decide what should be done in regard to the treaties made with France about prizes, whether to allow them to be sold, or restored, or do we need protection of our territory by vessels commissioned. Congress needs to make rules or laws. It’s complicated and even the courts don’t know what to do.

The United States ought not to indulge a persuasion that contrary to the order of human events, they will forever keep at a distance those painful appeals to arms with which the history of every other nation abounds. There is a rank due to the United States among nations which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it, if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war. The documents which will be presented to you will shew the amount and kinds of arms and military stores now in our magazines and arsenals, and yet an addition even to these supplies can not with prudence be neglected, as it would leave nothing to the uncertainly of procuring warlike apparatus in the moment of public danger.”

When we contemplate the war on our frontiers, it may be truly affirmed that every reasonable effort has been made to adjust the causes of dissension with the Indians north of the Ohio. The instructions given to the commissioners evince a moderation and equity proceeding from a sincere love of peace, and a liberality having no restriction but the essential  interests and dignity of the United States. The attempt, however, of an amicable negotiation having been frustrated the troops have marched to act offensively.” As the seasons advance, we many need more troops than the number granted by law, and you need to address that and their compensation.

The Executive also has some anxiety about peace with the Creeks and the Cherokees. We’ve given the Creeks corn and clothing, and prohibited offensive measures against them.  Congress needs to provide for the current emergency. [T]he establishment of commerce with the Indian nations in behalf of the United States is most likely to conciliate their attachment. But it ought to be conducted without fraud, without extortion, with constant and plentiful supplies, with a ready market for the commodities of the Indians and a stated price for what they give in payment and receive in exchange. Individuals will not pursue such a traffic unless they be allured by the hope of profit; but it will be enough for the United States to be reimbursed only. Should this recommendation accord with the opinion of Congress, they will recollect that it can not be accomplished by any means yet in the hands of the Executive.”

To the House of Representatives:

On the first day of June last an installment of 1.000,000 florins became payable on the loans of the United States in Holland. This was adjusted by a prolongation of the period of reimbursement in nature of a new loan at an interest of 5% for the term of ten years, and the expenses of this operation were a commission of 3%.

The first installment of the loan of $2,000,000 from the Bank of the United States has been paid, as was directed by law. For the second it is necessary that provision be made.

No pecuniary consideration is more urgent than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt. On none can delay be more injurious or an economy of time more valuable.

The productiveness of the public revenues hitherto has continued to equal the anticipations which were formed of it, but it is not expected to prove commensurate with all the objects which have been suggested. Some auxiliary provisions will therefore, it is presumed, be requisite, and it is hoped that these may be made consistently with a due regard to the convenience of our citizens, who can not but be sensible of the true wisdom of encountering a small present addition to their contributions to obviate a future accumulation of burthens.

But here I can not forbear to recommend a repeal of the tax on the transportation of public prints. There is no resource so firm for the Government of the United States as the affections of the people, guided by an enlightened policy; and to this primary good nothing can conduce more than a faithful representation of public proceedings, diffused without restraint throughout the United States.

Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

The several subjects to which I have now referred open a wide range to your deliberations and involve some of the choicest interests of our common country. Permit me to bring to your remembrance the magnitude of your task. Without an unprejudiced coolness the welfare of the Government may be hazarded; without harmony as far as consists with freedom of sentiment its dignity may be lost. But as the legislative proceedings of the United States will never, I trust, be reproached for the want of temper or of candor, so shall not the public happiness languish from the want of my strenuous and warmest cooperation.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

(Reprinted and slightly revised from 2013)



Ban The EPA: A Crooked Agency Intent Only On Power! by The Elephant's Child

Maps of the cold in Illinois today show temperatures ranging well below a minus 20°. I can assure you, from personal experience, that -20° is getting into the uncomfortable range. All the little hairs in your nose freeze, but with the proper insulation and a scarf across your face, not that bad.

Last week, in his interview with the Vox website, President Obama claimed that the media “overstated” the risk of terrorism as compared to the real problem of global warming. Slate sums that up—a 2012 DARA International report  claims that climate change causes an average of 400,000 deaths each year, a total that could grow to more than 600,000 by 2030. Oh, please!

250 million “face the pressures of sea-level rise” which is drowning thousands at a rise of 3.2 ±0.4mm a year? 30 million are affected by more extreme weather.(Climate is worldwide temperature—not weather) nor flooding. 25 million people are affected by permafrost thawing (define ‘affected’). The global Terrorism Index says there were nearly 18,000 deaths from terrorism in 2013. They’ve moved along from polar bears because research shows that public-health is more likely to elicit emotional reactions than a traditional environmental frame or even one on national security.

Far more people die from cold exposure than are ever harmed by a few degrees more of heat. (I lived in Phoenix for a while). So naturally the EPA has recently banned the production and sale of 80 percent of America’s current wood-burning stoves, the oldest heating method known to man.

A large percentage of rural homes, and many of the country’s poorest residents depend on wood stoves for heat and even for cooking, for rural homes that have power don’t necessarily have reliable power. And America still has plenty off-the-grid homes. According to the 2011 Census 2.4 million American housing units burned wood as their primary heating fuel, compared with 7% that depended on fuel oil.

The EPA bases this all on their supposed studies of fine particulates, which are made-up figures that have not been peer-reviewed nor is there any evidence that the limits they propose can be achieved using available technology. This is supposedly based on theoretical computer model-based warnings. You will have court cases and evidence, and the EPA will likely get slapped down again by the courts.

The EPA has operated more and more from made-up evidence and false statistics in their relentless search for more power. The best evidence that the air is essentially as clean as nature will allow is the EPA attempt to regulate “fine particles” and wood smoke.

The people of the United States who have wood stoves will ignore the whole thing. Keeping warm in a cooling Earth trumps ‘fine particles’ every time. The Earth has been cooling for over 18 years, and the sun—which is responsible for the warming and cooling of a naturally changing climate —is remarkably quiet. Today’s sun:

latest_solar_image



Zero Tolerance Gone Amok by The Elephant's Child

Another day, another eruption of educational idiocy. Political correctness or zero tolerance. Mindless principals, afraid that they might be criticized by someone, somewhere, for allowing any indication of possible, potential, imaginary violence to take place in their school, do remarkably silly things to protect themselves and damage little kids.

Alden Steward, age 9, had watched “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies,” and his head was still filled with the movie. He told a classmate that he could make him disappear with a ring forged in Middle Earth’s Mount Doom. He brought his “one ring” to school, put it on a classmate’s head, and said he could make him invisible like Bilbo Baggins.

Kermit Elementary School officials in Texas suspended the 9 year old for making violent threats.

“I assure you my son lacks the magical powers necessary to threaten his friend’s existence,” the father wrote. “If he did, I’m sure he’d bring him right back.”

Gosh, I’m not sure that is even as threatening as the little kid who got suspended for eating his pop-tart into a “gun shape.” (Looked more like the State of Idaho to me.)

I have not kept track of all the suspensions of kids for imaginary crimes against their school friends. There are too many. If you cannot distinguish between child’s imaginary play and violence, you are not suitable to be in a position of authority over children. It indicates that if there were an actual emergency, this person could not cope. School Boards should require a modicum of common sense.

Mark Pokorny. Warner Bros. :Pictures

Mark Pokorny. Warner Bros.Pictures



The 2014 Employment Miracle: Due to The Cut In Benefits by The Elephant's Child

hiringLets assume that your company has a big layoff, and you get a pink slip.. Your job is gone. What do you do? Some people go on vacation, They need time to reassess, get their heads on straight, think things through. Others go right down to file for unemployment benefits. Most  people will be looking for another comparable job, or one that’s even a little better, and the weeks and months go by….

Obama has been saying for the past couple of months  that 2014 has seen impressive improvement in the labor market— the best year in job creation since 1999, he points out proudly. He has naturally credited his policies, but any justification or rationale is missing. Unfortunately, the improvement in job creation seems to be due to the expiration of a program that the Democrats were fighting to renew.

It seems that it is not a result of Obama’s “Middle Class Economics,” an undefined and unexplained version of economics, dreamed up by Obama himself. The problem is the usual one when dealing with the Left — they don’t understand incentives.

A new  paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research contends that the ending of federally extended unemployment benefits across the country at the end of 2013 explains much of the labor-market boom of 2014.

When you’ve been looking for a job for some time, you settle in to a discouraged passivity. You are required by law to prove that you are looking, but you have half given up hope. Politicians on the Left always want to be helpful and encourage the unemployed to rely on the government. The “better world” they envision as a result of their policies is a grand vision where the needs of the people are fulfilled entirely by the benevolent  government which leaves the people free to create and paint, invent, compose. (Surely you remember Nancy Pelosi not long ago, advancing just that plan).

Sometimes people need a kick in the pants to get them moving, and an end to extended unemployment benefits does it. You may have to take the job you can find, rather than the job of your dreams. (See Mike Rowe) And that is what explains the labor-market boom in 2014 —1.8 million jobs can be attributed to the end of the extended-benefits program. It suggests that long-term unemployment benefits could have played a big role in the ongoing procrastination-passivity of the labor markets. Adults who are quite familiar with the technique when dealing with their children — tough love— may still be opposed to it for adults.

Congress repeatedly authorized federal extensions that allowed people to draw benefits much longer. The Obama administration was predicting that the drop-off in stimulative spending (the government gives money to the unemployed, they spend the money, that money circulates in the economy, magically multiplying as it goes) would cost 240,000 jobs. The NBER paper finds that it created 1.8 million jobs. The economics of the Slowest Recovery has been not Obama’s Middle Class economics, but discredited Keynesian economics which has never worked.




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