American Elephants

Is The Constitution Dead? Did It Die While We Weren’t Paying Attention? by The Elephant's Child


This lovely paragraph is in Myron Magnet’s review of Philip Hamburger’s Is Administrative Law Unlawful? in City Journal, the magazine of the Manhattan Institute:

The world-historical accomplishment of the American Revolution, and of the Constitution that came out of it, Hamburger notes, was that they turned upside-down the traditional governmental model of “elite power and popular subservience.” Americans “made themselves masters and made their lawmakers their servants” through a Constitution that they themselves had made. They observed laws that had legitimacy because they themselves had consented to them, through representatives whom they themselves had chosen. And “they made clear that not only their executives but even their legislatures were without absolute power.” Citizens claimed for themselves the liberty to do anything that the laws didn’t expressly forbid, and that freedom richly nourished talent, invention, experimentation, specialization—all the human qualities that are the fuel of progress and modernity.

It struck me that much of what drives the Left is contained in that paragraph. What the Left aims for is elite power and popular subservience. Obama, today, in response to a Republican sweep of the 2014 election, has decided, instead of making an effort to work with Congress in a bipartisan manner, to conduct foreign policy and legislate all on his lonesome. Politicians, by their very nature have a healthy dose of self-esteem, and they choose their rhetoric carefully to place their accomplishments or lack of accomplishments in the best possible light. That’s just natural. But insisting that because you are President of the United States you can do whatever you want to do by executive order, ignoring the tripartite nature of our Constitutional government, is just wrong.

The Constitution lodges all legislative power in Congress, which therefore cannot delegate its lawmaking function. It is, Hamburger says, “forbidden for Congress to pass a law creating an executive branch agency that writes rules legally binding on citizens—for example, to set up an agency charged with making a clean environment and then to let it make rules with the force of law to accomplish that end as it sees fit. The power of the legislative’ as the Founding Fathers’ tutelary political philosopher, John Locke, wrote, is   ‘only to make laws and not to make legislators.’ And if Congress can’t delegate the legislative power that the Constitution gives it, it certainly cannot delegate power that the Constitution doesn’t give it—namely, the power to hand out selective exemption from its laws, which is what agencies do when they grant waivers.”

James Madison, architect of the Constitution saw the separation of powers as an essential bulwark of American liberty. Administrative agencies, however, make rules, carry them out, adjudge and punish infractions of them, and wrap up legislative, executive and judicial powers in one noxious unconstitutional mess. Judicial power cannot be delegated as legislative power, the Constitution puts all of it in the judicial branch. Unlike real judges, administrative judges carry out the policy of their agency, as set and overseen by their department chief or the relevant cabinet secretary who in turn oversees him. This is not a court, and not a law, and not legal. Yet they can and do order  parties to appear before it, and extort millions of dollars in settlements, force companies to allow inspectors to enter their premises without warrants, and impose real criminal penalties. It can even kill a whole industry, as Obama’s EPA is attempting to do to the coal industry and the coal-fired power industry because the President mistakenly believes the carbon dioxide they emit is the cause of global warming.

Elites, particularly Leftist elites, do not like the Constitution which restrains their grasp for power. Many have accused Barack Obama of wanting to be a king. He laughs it off, and tries to pretend that his executive orders and executive notes and memorandums and signing statements are all perfectly constitutional, and adds, of course, that Bush did it.

Constitutional government is by its nature slow, designed to force new laws to be discussed and argued about, which will incline them to be better written and better law. But Congress, at some point got lazy, and felt it would speed things up if they just handed the administrative function in its entirety off to the assorted agencies of the government.

Thanks to Obama, we have a prime example of the failure of that whole endeavor in the Environmental Protection Agency. Good intentions come up against the nature of bureaucracy which is to grow and elaborate their mission and enhance their power. The Clean Water Act has long since accomplished it’s intent, and the EPA is vigilantly attempting to extend its regulating power to the trickles that flow into the ditches that flow into the creeks that flow into the streams that eventually flow into the “navigable waters,” the big rivers, that were originally given into their oversight. That’s pure power grab.

Congress must take back the legislative power assigned to it, agencies must shrink drastically in size, authority, and reach. They are not allowed to make law, administer law, investigate and judge law and assign penalties. Things have gotten so far out of whack that most, if not all, agencies have their own swat teams.

Part of the problem is that judges don’t know or understand the intricacies of the underlying facts of that which the agencies are attempting to regulate. Congress told the EPA that the navigable waters of the United States should be reasonably clean. The courts don’t necessarily understand where the dividing line for “enough” should fall.

Even while adhering to Supreme Court precedents about administrative power, they “remain free—indeed, [the courts] are bound by duty—to expound the unlawfulness of such power.” And at some point, Hamburger expects, the Supreme Court will have to man up and frankly state that what the Constitution says is the supreme law of the land.

And the people are going to have to let their representatives know that we care about the Constitution and our freedom, and are opposed to the administrative state.

More Phony Stories From the President. by The Elephant's Child
April 11, 2015, 7:05 pm
Filed under: Climate Change | Tags: , , , ,

When President Obama announced his drive to combine his fervor for climate regulation with the loony idea that climate change is hazardous to the public health, he attempted to personalize it with the claim that his daughter Malia had an asthma attack at the age of four, that gave him a real concern for all the children who might have asthma attacks as a result of the warming climate. An asthma attack is far more likely to be caused by exposure to very cold air. Which may be a problem for we haven’t had any warming for 18 years, and shutting down coal-fired power plants is not a positive step.

It has since been reported that the ‘attack’ came when the Obamas were attending the circus, and Malia suffers from a peanut allergy. In the comments on most blog posts, people were ready to blame the asthma on Barack’s smoking, and inflicting secondhand smoking on his daughter, but it seems it was only peanuts at the circus.

I hope Malia has outgrown it. Peanut allergies can be very serious, and peanuts are in a lot of foods as well as a favorite snack.

Our President Won’t Call Islamic Jihadists Terrorists, But He Wants to Declare War on Climate Change! by The Elephant's Child
April 8, 2015, 7:27 pm
Filed under: Climate Change, Politics | Tags: , ,

Oh marvelous! The White House says that climate change is hazardous to the public’s health, so they are going to hold a ‘Summit‘ with medical professionals later in the spring to give them their marching orders. Mr.Obama will enlist the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to devise solutions to combat the health impact of global warming. It includes a study from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the public health effects —obviously the campaign will focus on asthma, since the EPA has already used asthma, or more correctly, the specific number of children who will die from asthma if the country does not yield at once to the demands of the EPA for more power.

Doctors don’t know the cause of asthma. That’s why the EPA uses it. And they use it as projected deaths of children in the future, because who can be so callous as to want little children to die? So shut up and let us shut down all the coal-fired power plants that are producing about 40 percent of our electricity and force us to depend on “natural’ solar and wind power. The Asthma justification for EPA regulations was gutted by the latest science from the Journal of Asthma and Clinical Immunology from research from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. The usual triggers for an asthma attack as listed by the Mayo Clinic are:

Exposure to various substances that trigger allergies (allergens) and irritants can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma. Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include:

  • Airborne allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, mold, cockroaches and dust mites
  • Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
  • Physical activity (exercise-induced asthma)
  • Cold air
  • Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke
  • Certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve)
  • Strong emotions and stress
  • Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages, including shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, beer and wine
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat
  • Menstrual cycle in some women

The only one that can be attributed to climate is “cold air”, which seems to be a major trigger for many. Since we have had over 18 years of no warming at all, and a spell of increasingly cold winters in some parts of the country, I’m uncertain as to just what the federal government can do to combat cold air.

President Obama attempted to use an asthma attack his daughter Malia had when she was four as his reason for action, but then he used his mother’s lack of health insurance as a reason behind his insistence on ObamaCare, which turned out to be just another prevarication. His mother had perfectly good insurance.

The Center for the Study of Science issued a study on Global Climate Change Impacts in  the United States 2½ years ago, according to Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger.They found that health effects of climate change in the U.S. are negligible and likely to remain so in the future, unless there is precipitous economic and technological decline.

Death certificate data indicate that 46 percent of all deaths from extreme weather events in the United States from 1993-2006 were from excessive cold, 28 percent were from excessive heat, 10 percent were from hurricanes, 7 percent were from floods, and 4 percent were from tornadoes.

Census data indicate that the migration of Americans from the cold northern areas to the warmer southwest saves about 4,600 lives per year and is responsible for three to seven per cent of the gains in life expectancy from 1970-2000.

So what can the federal government do to save us from the cold? Stop shutting down coal-fired power plants and attacking the coal industry. CO² is a fertilizer for plants and is bringing about the greening of the planet. It is not the cause of “global warming.” The rise of the seas is measured in millimeters, not feet, and we have a lot bigger worries to concern us than another foolish attempt to “fight” the natural warming and cooling of the climate of the earth. Perhaps he could instead get serious about the threat from the Islamic State of Iran, because if they do what they say they are going to do, there will be more than ‘an effect’ on climate.

FEMA Will Deny Preparedness Funds Unless You Believe by The Elephant's Child

Starting next year in March, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will approve disaster-preparedness funds only for states whose governors have approved mitigation plans to address climate change. This does not affect funds for disaster relief after a hurricane, flood or tornado, but those funds directed to preparedness for a disaster.

Unfortunately, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes are not caused by Global Warming. Obama’s FEMA Director Craig Fugate explained back in 2012 that hurricanes are cyclical, not linked to Anthropogenic Global Warming.

“Well, I’m not a meteorologist. I’m not a climate scientist, and hurricanes are cyclic,” Fugate responded. “I do know history, and if you look at history and you look at hurricane activity, there are periods of increased and decreased activity that occurs over decades,” Fugate said. “Throughout the ‘60s, ‘70s, early ‘80s, up until about ’95, the Atlantic was actually in a period of below-average activity, even though you had significant storms like Andrew, Frederic, and David.”…

“But the reality is the history says we’ve had this period of activity, we’ve had a period of quiet,” Fugate said. “We’ve had a period of activity; we’ve had a period of quiet. And so what we’ve seen is not what we — we’ve seen this in history before.”

The whole FEMA issue of withholding funds based on accepting the administrations mantra about climate change is pure politics, not science.

The promoters of climate change are attempting to silence skeptics before the UN Paris climate summit and the next Presidential election and the implications for EPA climate regulations. They are trying to intimidate any scientists who have dared to testify before Congress. What are they threatening? They will call them “Deniers” a dire threat, for who cannot see that the climate is changing all the time, and they will claim that they are supported by oil companies. They are all quite sure that corporations are bad, and certainly the corporations that produce dread fossil fuels are the very worst of all.

It’s amazing how they can all cheerfully line up at the gas pumps, grateful for the drop in the price of gasoline, apparently completely oblivious to how that came about. They are sure that the world could run on clean solar energy and wind power, without understanding that each of those tiny sources of energy only exist because they are backed up full time with conventional power plants. But then they jet off to conferences without the slightest concern for their carbon footprints (whatever those are) or even a thought for how modern travel came about and how those airplanes were produced.

It is not hypocrisy that sends them off to attack climate scientists, but willful ignorance. They believe, and you must not challenge their religion.

The Surprising Machine Age: by The Elephant's Child

Look what the Industrial Age hath wrought! Hard jobs being made easier and faster, with fewer people. If you find this fascinating, click on the YouTube link, there are more compilations there. This doesn’t even begin to get into the story of how factory work is changing.

Why I Despise The Federal Bureaucracy In One Easy Lesson by The Elephant's Child


The federal government is obsessed with teaching children to eat what they believe the children should eat. It seems to be Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity thing. Kids come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes and some get their growth early, and others late. Watch the kids come out of a junior high school at the end of a school day.

Here is an article from the Free Beacon titled “Feds Spend $149,890 on ‘Mindful eating Intervention’ for Third Graders” It is a study based on the techniques of a Zen teacher to try to  “fight childhood obesity” and turn kids into “change agents” to teach their peers and their family how to eat healthy.

The project, entitled, “Foodie U: The Impact of a Pilot Mindful Eating Intervention on Food Behaviors Among Children and Families,” will focus on low-income Hispanic children.

“The elementary school age is a crucial period for developing life-long dietary habits while parents still significantly influence their food intake,” the grant said. “A school-based mindful eating intervention with parent involvement may positively influence children’s food behaviors.”

Mindfulness is a New Age meditation technique that traces its origins from Buddhism. People engaging in mindfulness are encouraged to focus on the present moment “non-judgmentally.” A 60 Minutes segment on mindfulness showed Anderson Cooper using the practice by eating in silence very slowly, focusing on every bite.

The article adds that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spend $100.2 million on studies testing mindfulness meditation. The study will involve focus groups and include activities about enjoyment of flavor, texture and appearance, hunger and fullness awareness, food and mood, family sit-down meals, and a cultural feast.

They’ll rope in the parents as well to teach them about “mindful eating practices, like beginning the meal with grace, playing the “how full is my stomach” game and telling children creative things like “broccoli is trees for dinosaurs to eat.”(It’s always broccoli, isn’t it?) Cal State University students will serve as “nutrition educators” and “Mindful eating facilitators” for the children involved.

I find this offensive and outrageous. Am I out of line? I don’t think it is the government’s business. “The goal of the USDA project is to make children consume fewer “high palatable, high calorie foods,” while also raising the “awareness and appreciation” of food. No cupcakes, you must like broccoli better. For class birthday celebrations they can have “broccoli parties.”

There’s actually a reason why chefs invented hollandaise sauce.

About the Coming Catastrophe: It’s Not the Climate! by The Elephant's Child

Fear of catastrophic climate change exists only in computer models which are used to predict the future on the basis of not very much real knowledge. That we don’t really know very much about earthly climate should be obvious from all the controversy.

The earth has been warming very gradually for 300 years, since the Little Ice Age ended, well before we discovered the use of fossil fuels. Prior to the Little Ice Age was the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings colonized Greenland and Newfoundland, and it was warmer than today. That was a period when humanity thrived. Before that were the Dark Ages, and before than the Roman Warming. Humanity has been pretty successful at adapting to change. Why is it only now that we fear change as a portent of disaster? Too many end if the world scenarios in the movies?

The idea that it would be catastrophic if carbon-dioxide were to increase and average global temperatures were to rise a few degrees is just silly. And there is no evidence whatsoever that the climate will become drastically warmer, or that the sea will rise by feet rather than millimeters. None.

A new scientific study by Bjorn Stevens of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany published in the American Meteorological Society Journal—finds the effect of aerosols on climate are much smaller that those in almost all of the computer models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Aerosols are the minute particles added to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels (as well as by non-anthropogenic sources, like volcanoes). The reason they are important is that they are so often cited by alarmists to excuse the awkward fact that the world has stubbornly failed to warm at the disastrous rate they predicted it would.”

A NASA expert in 2009 said:

Using climate models, we estimate that aerosols have masked about 50 percent of the warming that would otherwise have been caused by greenhouse gases trapping heat near the surface of the Earth.

There was a lack of global warming, a cooling period, between 1940 and 1970 (ice age?) when there was increased industrialization and extra man-made CO².  Aerosols have been used to explain the lack of warming.

The new Stevens paper has been called a “game changer” by one expert in the field — Nic Lewis.

According to the IPCC’s models, the effect of aerosols on the climate could be as much as 4.5 degrees. The Stevens paper says this is a big overestimate and the reduction they effect on temperature cannot be more than 1.8 degrees C. If the cooling effects of aerosols is much smaller than the IPCC thinks, then the rise in global temperatures that can be attributed to man-made CO² is much smaller than the alarmist computer models acknowledge.

The terrestrial temperature measuring stations have been shown to vastly overestimate warming as well, for many are improperly sited next to air-conditioner exhausts, walls that reflect heat, trash burners, next to asphalt parking lots — all locations that artificially raise the heat measurement on the thermometers.

Satellite measurement began about 1980, I think. The climate models are unable to predict the present climate when we know what it is. Mankind has always wanted to predict the future, but I don’t know that it’s any better now than when they were tossing bones, or reading tea leaves. Lord knows they’ve tried, especially with financial markets.  The models devised for predicting the future of the stock market were, I believe I read, the original source for the climate models. Any successful predictions are apt to be just lucky guesses, otherwise we wouldn’t have Las Vegas, nor a Lottery, nor losses on the stock market. We are not meant to know the future,but to be wise enough to prepare for what might be.

ADDENDUM: Dr.Roy Spencer and Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, who developed the satellites that give us the only real time climate measurements, are celebrating their 25th anniversary, so they started measuring in 1990. I was only ten years off!



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