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.



Petulant President Vetoes Pipeline, Promises Permits to Illegals by The Elephant's Child

Texas Governor Greg Abbott told CNS News that already in this calendar year, since January 1, we have had more than 20,000 people who have come across the border with Mexico, apprehended and  unauthorized.

In fiscal year 2014, U.S. immigration officials removed 213,719 individuals who were caught while attempting to enter the  United States unlawfully. Texas already has some 800,000 illegal aliens living in their state.

Abbott has filed a lawsuit on behalf of 26 states challenging Mr. Obama’s decision to go around Congress by unilaterally giving millions of illegal immigrants permission to stay in the US. and to give them Social Security numbers, and work permits.

A federal judge has put President Obama’s amnesty plan on hold, and Abbott said he expects the case to continue through the court process all the way to the Supreme Court. Abbott added that the president has violated the rule of law and is actually making up the law himself and imposing his own standards in immigration.

Government data , as of December 2014, show 9.3 million new jobs have been added since January 2000. In the same time period, data show 18 million new immigrants (legal and illegal). So for every new job, there have been two new immigrants. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) says:

Government data  reveal that more than 7.4 million work permits (formally known as Employment Authorization Documents) were issued to aliens from 2009 to 2014. Because neither lawful permanent residents (green card holders) nor temporary work visa holders need a work permit, this amounts to a huge parallel immigrant work authorization system outside the numerical limits and categories set by Congress. The huge number of work permits being issued above and beyond these limits inevitably reduces opportunities for U.S. workers, damages the integrity of the immigration system, and encourages illegal immigration.

Obama has been talking about the improving economy and all the new jobs, without including the downside of the long-term unemployed, nor the jobs lost or turned part-time. You get better numbers if you just talk jobs created, and forget to subtract the jobs lost—a regular Obama trick.

He also does not include all the work permits he has granted to illegals. Nor will he count the potential jobs that were included with the Keystone XL pipeline bill that he vetoed today. In every way, the Keystone XL pipeline would be a boon to the American economy. His veto has nothing to do with the merits of the project.

The application to build the pipeline was filed more than 2,300 days ago. It has been approved by the Clinton State Department, and the Kerry State Department, and Obama’s excuses are getting more and more embarrassing. He claims the bill would “cut short” the process for approving the project — over 6 years and climbing. It’s purely political. (Tom Steyer’s money) Keystone has passed every environmental test, and the recent derailment of an oil tanker train has demonstrated, once again, that pipelines are safer than the alternative.

According to TransCanada, the pipeline means at least 20,000 new high-paying jobs. They are only temporary, sneers Obama. All construction jobs are temporary until the construction is complete then the workers take their newly learned skills on to the next job. And by the way, the Keystone pipeline IS infrastructure. Besides the 20,000 construction jobs in pipeline construction and material production, the State Department projects 42,000 jobs and the addition of $3.5 billion to the economy.

This is just Obama being childish and petulant. Remember that when he starts telling you about all the new jobs, or the improving economy. Any improvement has not come from Obama initiatives, but by going around the president. The economy keeps trying to break out, but this president keeps standing directly in the way.



America Reinvents Automaking: Future Present by The Elephant's Child
February 24, 2015, 5:17 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Engineering, Politics, Taxes | Tags: , ,

I guess if you making cars for millionaires, you can buy a lot of robots with which to make them — but this process is pretty cool. The times they are a changing.  Henry Ford would be astonished to see how his ideas have developed.

Elon Musk’s Tesla is currently the No. 1 electric car maker — with vehicles ranging from $70,000 to $100,000 — and Google is working on George Jetson-like driverless cars. But neither is close to cornering the market on mass-affordable electric cars.

Elon Musk is the biggest parasite in the world. Tesla does not exist without tax payer money. The driverless car is a solution in search of a problem and it is far from being practical.

An interesting post from The Z Blog, on Apple, Google,Tesla and trends.

And here’s Bjorn Lomberg explaining why there are NO benefits whatsoever to electric cars.

It is time to stop our green worship of the electric car. It costs us a fortune, cuts little CO2 and surprisingly kills almost twice the number of people compared with regular gasoline cars.

Electric cars’ global-warming benefits are small. It is advertised as a zero-emissions car, but in reality it only shifts emissions to electricity production, with most coming from fossil fuels. As green venture capitalist Vinod Khosla likes to point out, “Electric cars are coal-powered cars.”



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.



The Eastern United States As Seen From Space by The Elephant's Child

nasa-modis-02-20-15-record-cold-snowNASA took a picture of the Eastern United States from their Terra satellite. (click to enlarge) If you look closely, you can see the lines of the states superimposed over the picture. Makes  you cold just to look at it. Yes, that is the Great Lakes, faintly seen and all frozen over. Arctic and Siberian air masses have settled in over the Eastern U.S. bringing record low temperatures in many states.

Temperatures from Maine to Florida were up to 40° lower than normal. Twenty-six Americans have died from weather-related issues, 18 in Tennessee alone. Nine died from hypothermia, others from traffic accidents on icy roads. One died of kidney failure when he could not get to a dialysis appointment, and a married couple died in a house fire. Cold weather kills. Be grateful for Fracking and the declining price of oil.



Snow in the Northeast. February, 2015. by The Elephant's Child

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If you want to see pictures of the biting cold and burgeoning snow in the Northeast, where do you go? To the British papers of course! The UK’s The Telegraph has “Snowmageddon: 17 amazing photos of record-breaking U.S. snow”, thanks to camera phones, with some pretty funny comments as well. Seems like it was only yesterday that they were talking about the end of snow, and how children would never get to experience it.

City snow is much more troublesome than country snow. Icy streets, questionable transportation, worries about power outages. And people don’t seem to know that they should start shoveling early, keep their sidewalks clean, and shovel roofs when needed. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re having a mild winter. Terrible winter for the ski resorts — not much snow. It’s 56° here.



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




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