American Elephants


It’s Not About Clean Water. Another Big Lie From the EPA. by The Elephant's Child

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The House has joined with the Senate in voting to overturn the EPA’s attempt to extend their control of “navigable waters” to every creek, stream, ditch and trickle to exert control over privately owned land across the United States.

The EPA has been acting with Congressional authority over “navigable waterways” since the 1972 Clean Water Act became law. Earlier this year they extended without any input from Congress their “clean water rule” as authority to control dry creeks, potholes and puddles. The intent was that private individuals or businesses would require government permission to do anything on their own property that was remotely related to water — like digging a drainage ditch, for example —that would give Washington sweeping powers over private land.

A federal judge told the EPA in August that it had gone too far, but the EPA shrugged and said they would continue to impose the rule in the 37 states that were not part of the lawsuit.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called the EPA’s attempted rule a “power grab’ last Wednesday —the day the House voted 253-166, with the support of 12 Democrats to overturn the rule. It is the same resolution that was passed by the Senate in November. Now it will go to President Obama’s desk. He will undoubtedly veto the bill.

I’m not sure just when the current crop of Democrats decided that they could be Socialists without actually using the name — by controlling everything with regulation instead of owning the means of production. They are, however, well on their way to extend a web of federal power over everything, including private property.

I don’t know how the Navajos’ lawsuits against the EPA are proceeding over the agency’s toxic spill into the waters that serve the Navajo Nation for drinking water, irrigation and stock feed, but it is simply further proof that the EPA’s efforts are just a power grab, and have nothing to do with clean water — nothing at all.



Is It Time For The Federal Government to Stop Telling You What to Eat? by The Elephant's Child

mixed selection of fruit and vegetables

For 35 years the federal government has been issuing dietary guidelines, and they haven’t changed all that much. A revised bunch of recommendations released this month includes a new cap on added sugar. The guidelines have been a failure in checking the rise of obesity and diabetes. The problem, the Wall Street Journal article suggests, is a reliance on weak science.

I don’t know who relies on the federal government’s dietary guidelines, nor who even sees them. When I was in high school, admittedly quite a while ago, we still had home economics, which consisted of the basics, you could say, of ‘housewifery.’ Basic cooking and nutrition, a little sewing, maybe a bit of budgeting depending on the school , but I don’t think they’ve done that for years. The boys got ‘shop’ which was mostly coping with ‘man around the house’ stuff, making something with wood, and using tools. Forgive me if I’m not up to date, it was some time ago. I don’t think the boys ever saw the dietary guidelines either.

Congress, however is concerned about the continued toll taken by nutrition-related diseases. (The rising cost of ObamaCare is scaring everyone) They have mandated the first ever outside review by the National Academy of Medicine of the evidence underlying the dietary guidelines and the process that produces them.

I knew I’d written about the dietary guidelines before, but entering “dietary guidelines” in the search box over Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar produced 8 cranky posts. This particular one concerned the Committee’s concern with “sustainability” and the environmental food activist the USDA had hired. If you know of anyone who has posted the federal guidelines poster in their kitchen, or who has shown interest, please let me know. I just don’t think anyone except possibly the heads of school lunch programs has any interest — and that has been taken over by Michelle who came up with a program universally hated by all school children, and that schools are abandoning as rapidly as possible.

Many of the wrongheaded recommendations reach home kitchens, like butter is bad, margarine good. Eggs bad, eat lots of pasta. In short, they are usually universally wrong. Of course there are all sorts of quacks telling you what to eat online, and our grocery stores are filled with organic food, natural food, GMO free, reduced fat, sugar free, gluten free, and acres of special drinks: Texas superfoods, liquid beets, anything any producer can think of as a possible selling point. Grocery stores cater to all the enthusiasms, because that’s what people want, which means multiple fads.

I am certainly no expert, but when the agriculture department starts hiring environmental food activists, they have crossed some sort of line. Putting the nation’s corn crop into our gas tanks makes no sense either, even if Iowa farmers like it.  We have too many unaccountable bureaucracies that should simply be abolished, but thinning out the swarm of agencies in the federal government and the repetitive and often useless things they do seems to be a needed but impossible task. The agencies exist because Congress palms off the execution of tasks onto the agencies which grow and fester.

Congress said, back in the day, that we want clean air and clean water, a straightforward, simple request, which gave us the EPA — possibly the most crooked agency in the government, intent only on their own power and growth. There are a lot of agencies competing for the title though — the VA, the IRS, HHS, and HUD are all prime candidates.  It will take a lot of public pressure to get any real action, and it may be impossible. There are supposedly 47 different federal job training programs, though there may be more. Is it hopeless?



“Earth 2015” The View From Obama’s First Campaign. by The Elephant's Child

This video appeared on “Good Morning America” back in 2008 — warning of the coming climate catastrophe — from which Barack Obama promised to save us.  And here we are and how did those prognostications turn out? Yes. we warned you that they were a bunch of loonies, and so they were.  Fun to look back and see just how wrong they were.

There is a cult of — future annihilation, the world ending badly, coming catastrophe that has increasingly become more prominent. I suspect it has much to do with the movies: zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, earthquake, fatal disease. If you forbade the movie industry from doing movies about future collapse, what would they make movies about? Possibly they’d have to tell real entertaining stories instead.



He Has a Phone and a Pen, And Congress Should Just Not Interfere! by The Elephant's Child

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Dennis McD0nough, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, confirmed the intent of the Administration to pursue “audacious” executive actions. He stated that the Obama administration’s desire was that its actions “not be subject to undoing through [Congress] or otherwise.” Many presidents have used “executive orders” to move an issue forward when Congress was stalling, but McDonough’s comment was something quite different. The end goal here is policy decisions that cannot be undone by Congress “or otherwise” which would seem to be the courts. Obama wants what he wants and he doesn’t want any  ignorant interference.

This is the man who regularly claims to have been a ‘Professor of Constitutional Law,’ when he apparently was only a lecturer in civil rights law at the University of Chicago, so his casual treatment of the law is not surprising.

The Founders created a governing system with three branches that was meant to act slowly, with deliberation. The Federalist explained the idea of what James Madison called “checks and balances” in The Federalist No. 51:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

The Progressives in our country have somehow come to believe that whatever it is, is better done by government. Philanthropy should not be granted by rich men, but done by government. What to eat? The government will tell you what you should eat. Health care? The government will decide what medical care you may have and from what physicians or hospitals, and what they will pay for. You taxes will support useless wind turbines and solar arrays, and put the nation’s corn crop in your gas tank. You cannot buy raw milk from a dairy, and you must buy organic food. You are required to use less water when you take a shower, and the government will tell you what kind of light bulbs to use in your house. I could go on and on, but you will find the exercise more informative if you do it yourself.

Over the centuries since the founding, the shallow inclinations of politicians have been limited by respect for the restraint on their authority as a part of the guarantee of American freedom, so essential to who we are and what we believe. Many have commented on the anger of the American people in this campaign season. That is the root of the fury—an administration that ignores the rules and customs and traditions of our history—because this President, like a spoiled child, wants his own way.

He does not like Congress, because they disagree. He does not want to deal with them, and he ‘s not going to argue or try to convince them. He has a pen and a phone, and just try to stop him. And believe it or not, Hillary wants to appoint him to the Supreme Court, when his term is finally over.

Donald Trump said he would use a lot of executive actions as well, but he’d do good ones. And who decides that?



The New Defense for Criminal Activity: We Did It To Save the Planet! by The Elephant's Child

Five people were arrested back in September 2014 for blocking railroad tracks at a Burlington Northern/ Santa Fe Railway Yard after tying themselves to a tripod of poles erected over the railroad tracks to protest train shipments of oil and coal and proposed export terminals in the Northwest.

Three trains were delayed and others were diverted  around the2024445698-300x0 blocked tracks. No railroad property was damaged.

Two women and three men refused to leave the over eight hour protest were taken to the Snohomish County Jail, just up the road a ways, and were expected to be charged with trespassing.

Railroad police arrived after the protest started about 6 a.m. and asked the protester to leave. Eight left peacefully at noon. The five locked with cables to the tripod refused. A woman was perched on top about 20′ up  and others were locked to the 3 legs.

The Rising Tide protesters say fossil-fuel shipments are dangerous and environmental concerns aren’t being given enough weight.

“All the people in the blockade have brought concerns in many other avenues,” spokeswoman Delaney Piper said. “We feel we have used political venues, advocacy — all of those tools — and this is the tool most necessary right now, because the situation is so dire that direct action is necessary.”

Last Friday, Left Coast Jurors found the so-called Delta 5 not guilty of obstruction for blockading a regional oil facility in 2014. For the first time in the United States, a jury heard testimony that defendants’ criminal actions were justified by “climate necessity.” Oh please! The phony  possibility of “saving the planet” trumps criminal activity? Only on the Left Coast!

The Snohomish County District Court Judge barred the jury from actually considering the “necessity” defense.  But the jurors acquitted on the obstruction charge and convicted on trespassing. The Green loonies will appeal that conviction as well as the judge’s denial of their defense.

Big Oil is hated by the Greens because of CO2, a benign gas that is necessary for life, and a natural fertilizer for plants that has been greening the planet. It is not a pollutant, but as high school biology should have taught the Delta 5, is necessary for photosynthesis, where plants take in carbon dioxide, use the carbon and exhale oxygen, which we all breathe.



Annoy a Green True Believer. Tell Them CO2 Makes Forests Grow. by The Elephant's Child

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Steven Hayward published an abstract from the coming issue of Forest Ecology & Management which includes an article that finds rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere are mostly beneficial for our forests. Here’s the complete abstract, which will annoy the Greens.

Physiological and ecological factors influencing recent trends in United States forest health responses to climate change

Abstract

The health of United States forests is of concern for biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, forest commercial values, and other reasons. Climate change, rising concentrations of CO2 and some pollutants could plausibly have affected forest health and growth rates over the past 150 years and may affect forests in the future. Multiple factors must be considered when assessing present and future forest health. Factors undergoing change include temperature, precipitation (including flood and drought), CO2 concentration, N deposition, and air pollutants. Secondary effects include alteration of pest and pathogen dynamics by climate change. We provide a review of these factors as they relate to forest health and climate change. We find that plants can shift their optimum temperature for photosynthesis, especially in the presence of elevated CO2, which also increases plant productivity. No clear national trend to date has been reported for flood or drought or their effects on forests except for a current drought in the US Southwest. Additionally, elevated CO2 increases water use efficiency and protects plants from drought. Pollutants can reduce plant growth but concentrations of major pollutants such as ozone have declined modestly. Ozone damage in particular is lessened by rising CO2. No clear trend has been reported for pathogen or insect damage but experiments suggest that in many cases rising CO2 enhances plant resistance to both agents. There is strong evidence from the United States and globally that forest growth has been increasing over recent decades to the past 100+ years. Future prospects for forests are not clear because different models produce divergent forecasts. However, forest growth models that incorporate more realistic physiological responses to rising CO2 are more likely to show future enhanced growth. Overall, our review suggests that United States forest health has improved over recent decades and is not likely to be impaired in at least the next few decades.

The study is behind a paywall, but you can get the gist of it from this, and this bit from the conclusion.

The health of United States forests is of increasing concern among scientists and policymakers who predict that CO2-induced climate change will have negative effects on forest establishment and growth. However, when considered over long time frames, drought area does not appear to be increasing in the United States as a whole, though local and periodic excursions are to be expected and do occur. Multiple types of historical data indicate increasing forest productivity. Long-term data on trends for insect and disease incidence and impacts are mostly lacking. . . The IPCC (AR5, WGII p. 305) has reached a similar conclusion, stating: “There is low confidence that climate change is threatening the temperate forest carbon sink directly or indirectly.”

Forest Ecology and Management will probably not be anyone’s favorite bedtime reading, but we skeptics gather up whatever evidence we find to annoy the climate loonies. They are true believers, a sort of religion, and they are quite passionate about it. But wrong.



Obama’s Embarrassing Reasons for Blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline by The Elephant's Child

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We wrote a couple of weeks ago about Trans Canada’s two lawsuits against the Obama Administration over the administration’s blocking of the Keystone XL Pipeline. One is a legal challenge that President Obama exceeded his authority when he blocked the pipeline’s construction. The other is an international petition under NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) seeking to recover the $15 billion in costs and damages incurred when Obama blocked the cross border pipeline.

Someone dredged up the President’s statement back in November, from the Roosevelt Room, when he announced that he was blocking the pipeline, and it’s really quite delicious, if you’re inclined to root for the Canadians. Several whoppers on jobs, the economy, our energy security, but the main reason for rejecting the pipeline was: it might screw up his pitch in Paris for a unenforceable climate agreement that many nations would reject anyway, because it might set a poor example.

America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change.  And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.  And that’s the biggest risk we face — not acting.

Today, we’re continuing to lead by example.  Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.

Do read the whole thing. Democrats have a habit of just accepting Progressive talking points and never, never looking into the facts behind the conventional wisdom. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is not the source of what global warming there has been, and it presents not the slightest concern about making the Earth uninhabitable in our lifetimes. I suspect that Canada is going to win this one.




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