Filed under: Foreign Policy, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Military, National Security, Progressivism, Syria, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Prager University, The Islamic State, Thomas Jocelyn
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Environment, Freedom, Junk Science, Law, Progressivism, Regulation, The United States | Tags: Andy and Katie Johnson, Environmental Protection Agency, The Pacific Legal Foundation
Andy and Katie Johnson own a small 8-acre ranch near Bridger, Wyoming, on which they run 10 head of cattle and 4 horses. A creek runs through the property. Mr. Johnson wanted to build a stock pond to water his animals. He got approval from the local government and from the State of Wyoming, and they invested most of their savings in building the stock pond. Birds, fish and other wildlife came.
So did the EPA, who went after the family for violating the Clean Water Act. EPA Director Gina McCarthy used the Johnson family to test the power of the EPA in advance of the passage of their harsh new rules. The rule wasn’t even passed when Ms. McCarthy took out her pen and her phone.
EPA regulators showed up at the Johnson property in 2014, and announced that the Johnsons were facing a “very serious matter.” The EPA claimed the Johnsons violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The EPA claims the pond discharges into other waterways. Mr. Johnson was ordered to restore the property to its pre-pond state, according to EPA rules for restoration, and pay a fine of $37,500 a day until it was completely restored, and face criminal charges as well.
The EPA’s new rule is a power grab, clean and simple. When Congress created the Clean Water Act, they neglected to define “water.” Big mistake. The Supreme Court defined “the waters of the United States” as “navigable waters” which the EPA promptly redefined as anything that flowed into the navigable waters, and believed they were justified in tracing the “navigable waters” right back to your downspout. Imagine! I’ve used a picture of a trickle in a roadside ditch to point out what they are after. Ms McCarthy wants to be a Commissar of the EPA’s own Empire.
The Johnsons refused to cave in, and enlisted the help of Wyoming Senators Barasso and Enzi, and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, and the Libertarian Pacific Legal Foundation. The Clean Water Act specifically excludes stock ponds. No matter.The fines had reached $16 million when Mr. Johnson’s counter lawsuit against the EPA reached the courts.
More than two years later, Johnson won. In a settlement reached with the EPA, he gets to keep his pond, he won’t need to get a federal permit, the EPA fines have been removed, and all Johnson agreed to do was plant some willow trees and limit access to a portion of his pond for a while.
Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Jonathan Wood called the settlement “a win for the Johnson family, and a win for the environment.”
The federal government stormed onto private property, threatened a family with massive fines (could $37,500 a day be any more absurd?) and walked away only after being countersued. While the Johnsons were being harassed, the EPA was finalizing their new rule to cover anything from prairie puddles to power plants.
A lawsuit filed by several states came to a halt when a federal judge in North Dakota blocked the EPA from enforcing the rule, which the judge said was “arbitrary and capricious.” The judge ruled that the injunction be applied to all 50 states, but the EPA decided that they would go ahead and enforce the rule in the states that hadn’t sued, until an appeals court stepped in and blocked that runaround.
The EPA has been slapped down by the courts repeatedly for overreaching , but they are zealots — intent on power. “The environment” has become a magical word to which every business is careful to genuflect. That’s power. Packages and papers come with a notation to ‘please recycle’. Laws protecting the people from polluted air or polluted water are in place.
The EPA is reduced to scanning archives for old studies, not necessarily valid, that will give them a legal leg to stand on. Words are parsed for other possible meanings. Your freedom and property rights depend on a lawyer asking the right questions to get you off whatever hook the EPA decides to impale you with. The agency has long outlived its usefulness and needs to be disbanded permanently.
This is how you suddenly wake up one morning to find yourself resident in a tyranny — with no rights at all. Democrats are quite up front about their contempt for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Constitution provides only Impeachment as a remedy for “high crimes and misdemeanors” — not for overreaching with executive orders and pardon powers and the regulations handed down by agencies established by the executive. We’d all better pay real attention. Government is not a spectator sport.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Education, Freedom, Heartwarming, Literature, Politics, Progressivism, The United States | Tags: American Education, Richard Mitchell, The Work of a Mind
“Schooling is done in public places, but the roots of an education grow only in the hidden ground of the mind. Lessons are taught in social institutions but they can be learned only by private people. The acts that are at once the means and the end of education: knowing, thinking, understanding, judging, are all committed in solitude. It is only in a mind that the work can be done. There is no such thing as “collective thinking.” Our schools can be an instrument for socialization or an incentive to thoughtfulness, but they cannot be both.”
…”At the root of our widespread and institutionalized illiteracy is a fevered commitment to socialization and an equally unhealthy hostility to the solitary, and thus probably anti-social work of the mind. In school, the inane and uninformed regurgitations of the ninth-grade rap session on solar energy as a viable alternative to nuclear power are positive, creative, self-esteem-enhancing student behavioral outcomes; the child who sits alone at the turning of the staircase, reading, is a weirdo. The students did not bring that “appreciation” to school: they learned it there.”
………………………………………………………. Richard Mitchell
……………………………………………………….The Graves of Academe
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Crime, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Law, Police, Politics, Progressivism, The Constitution | Tags: Bureau of Justice Statistics, President Barack Obama, The Butterfield Fallacy
An official from the U.S. Department of Justice has said the agency will no longer call people “felons” or “convicts” after they are released from prison — because it is too hard for them emotionally.
This fits right in with the Obama administration plan to release large numbers of “non-violent” felons to remedy “mass incarceration.” To a liberal, crime is never the fault of the perpetrator. It is the fault of society, the criminal’s parents, his lack of a good education, poverty, drugs, or lack of opportunity. Federal prisons are filled with “first-time, non-violent drug offenders” they claim, who were caught up by the criminal justice system and imprisoned, unfairly, for years. This conviction is behind the current drive for criminal justice reform.
Mass incarceration of such prisoners tears apart families, and most of these unfairly imprisoned and nearly innocent are African American, which means that the system is deeply racist. Trouble is that all of these popular buzz words are bunk. There is no mass incarceration. Each prisoner is there because he was arrested for committing a felony, was convicted by a judge and jury or pleaded guilty, may have appealed the sentence or chose not to to appellate courts and received all the rights of due process that are provided by the U.S.Constitution.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that almost all drug offenders in federal prison are serving sentences for drug trafficking, which does not mean selling small amounts of marijuana or heroin.
The Butterfield Fallacy is also at work here. Because crime has decreased, it is believed there is no need for so many people to be in prison. Wrong assumption. Crime is down in a simple cause and effect matter. Because so many criminals are in prison, there is less crime. The vast majority of prisoners are in state prisons, not federal prisons. Recidivism rates for chronic drug traffickers are over 75 percent, in other words three quarters of those released will be arrested again for committing serious crimes. And for every arrest, such criminals commit, on average, twelve other unsolved crimes.
Malcolm B. Benson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1995, and spent 19 years behind bars. He was released early for good behavior in January 2015. It took him only nine months to kill a 59 year-old Army veteran who was waiting at a bus stop on his way to work, when Benson shot him during a botched robbery. Recidivism is common. According to Breitbart —
Over the past several years, the U.S. Sentencing Commission has ordered the release of thousands of serious criminals from federal prison, and in 2014 reduced the guidelines for all drug traffickers, regardless of the type of drug, criminal history, history of violence, gang or cartel ties making over 46,000 convicted drug traffickers eligible for early release. It is estimated that the bills now pending in Congress could make another 12,000 eligible for early release.
Jason L. Riley, writing in the Wall Street Journal. asked plaintively:
Why the fate of criminals should matter more than the fate of crime victims is a question that went largely unasked, let alone answered, during last week’s bipartisan celebration of President Obama’s decision to release dozens of individuals from prison and push for looser sentencing guidelines.
If the president is to be believed, it is not the prevalence of thugs that turns black ghettos into living nightmares for residents. Rather, the police, prosecutors and judges who pursue lawbreakers are the bigger cause for concern.
“A growing body of research shows that people of color are more likely to be stopped, frisked, questioned, charged, detained,” said Mr. Obama in his recent address to the NAACP. “What is that doing to our communities? What’s that doing to those children? Our nation is being robbed of men and women who could be workers and taxpayers, could be more actively involved in their children’s lives, could be role models, could be community leaders.”
This is apparently a big part of President Obama’s effort to establish a legacy. He is attempting to empty the detention center at Guantanamo Bay as well, and no new detainees have been held there. He just released the detainee responsible for the attack on the USS Cole, and the deaths of 17 servicemen. Congress has acted to make it illegal to bring detainees to the United States, but none seem to be tried by Military Commissions, as was the original intent, and most of those released have returned to the battle against Americans.
ADDENDUM:The White House “announced that they have commuted the sentences of 58 federal convicts, part of a broader push to revamp the criminal justice system and ease punishments for nonviolent drug offenders.”
Those whose prison terms were cut short include 18 who were sentenced to life terms.. Most will be released on September 2, though others will be released over the next 2 years.This group includes defendants who were convicted of selling cocaine, crack and methamphetamine, and makes a total of 306 whose sentences Obama has commuted.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economics, Election 2016, Foreign Policy, Free Markets, Freedom, Immigration, Law, Media Bias, National Security, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Unemployment | Tags: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Donald J. Trump, President Barack Obama
“The rate of real economic growth is the single greatest determinate of America’s strength as a nation and the well being of the American people.” President Obama has not delivered a single year of 3,0% growth. The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy expanded at the slowest pace in two years, rising at an anemic 0.5% rate after a 1.4% fourth quarter advance. Not good, and one of the reasons why so many people are angry.
From Investors Business Daily:
Legacy: The same day the 0.5% GDP growth came out, President Obama is quoted in the New York Times saying the country has done “better” than “any large economy on Earth in modern history.” Delusional doesn’t begin to cut it.
The only real problem with the economy, as far as Obama is concerned, is that he hasn’t been selling his successful policies aggressively enough.
“We were moving so fast early on that we couldn’t take victory laps. We couldn’t explain everything we were doing. I mean, one day we’re saving the banks; the next day we’re saving the auto industry; the next day we’re trying to see whether we can have some impact on the housing market,” he told the Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin.
Investors added that Obama didn’t “save” either industry. His only contribution to the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy process was to protect union interests at taxpayer expense. Dodd-Frank killed many, many community banks. The stimulus was an enormous expense and accomplished nothing at all.
At a townhall meeting in London, Obama was asked about what he wanted his legacy to be after eight years.
There are things I’m proud of. The basic principle that in a country as wealthy as the United States, every person should have access to high-quality health care that they can afford — that’s something I’m proud of, I believe in. (Applause.) Saving the world economy from a Great Depression — that was pretty good. (Laughter and applause.)
Well, laughter indeed, but no applause. In early days, Obama was hailed as a great communicator. He was even awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for merely talking about peace. As Noah Rothman said today at Commentary:
The image of Obama as the left’s Great Communicator was always a fabrication. Given how often Obama himself has admitted his persuasive skills have failed his supporters, you might think this invention of a center-left media would have long ago been buried. Yet, it remains with us even today. Born out of a wish and unresponsive to falsifying evidence, the idea that Obama was somehow a marvelously successful communicator will probably be with us long after the president leaves office.
Mr. Trump’s foreign policy speech was similarly hailed as strong and wide ranging. A lot of people believe what Mr. Trump said, and they’re wrong.
Mr. Trump: “NAFTA, as an example, has been a total disaster for the United States and has emptied our states — literally emptied our states of our manufacturing and our jobs. Not true.
The North American Free Trade Agreement went into force January 1, 1994. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these were the numbers at the end of December in 1993:
- Manufacturing employment: 16.8 million
- Labor force participation rate: 66.4%
- Unemployment rate: 6.5%
These were the numbers at the end of December 2000:
- Manufacturing employment: 17.2 million
- Labor force participation rate: 67.0%
- Unemployment rate: 3.9%
After seven years of NAFTA, unemployment was down, more people were in the labor force, and there were more people who were employed in manufacturing. In year 8 China joined the World Trade Organization, and problems came from that. This is when the drop in trade came. China is not a good economic partner, but the Obama administration is negotiating an investment deal with China. Either they should stop or Congress should stop them. In any case, Mr. Trump is plainly mistaken on his major arguments.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Economics, Energy, Free Markets, Freedom, History, Humor, Politics, Progressivism, The United States | Tags: History Professor Burt Folsom, Smug Progressives Spend Too Much
History Professor Burton Folsom of Hillsdale College explains carefully why government investments usually fail. Professor Folsom has demolished The Myth of the Robber Barons, Explained in New Deal or Raw Deal how FDR’s economic legacy has damaged America, and now with Uncle Sam Can’t Count: A History of Failed Government Investments from Beaver Pelts to Green Energy and in this short video for Prager University, he explains why Big New Ideas are better left to private entrepreneurs.
It’s a matter of incentives. When entrepreneurs invest their own hard earned money, they are careful and thrifty, I have not yet seen a bill for Obama’s investments in Big Ideas like Solyndra, Ivanpah, Solar City, and all the rest, and there’s the high-speed railroad to nowhere supposedly abuilding in California.
There are some lessons here to pay close attention to. Some presidents want to build monuments to themselves, and members of Congress are subject to the same temptations.