American Elephants


Obama Went to Alaska to See a Glacier, Make a Speech, And Talk a Lot of Nonsense. by The Elephant's Child

www.usnews.comPresident Obama likes to make a speech or two in appropriate places to give him a little more authenticity for whatever program he is pitching. In this case, there was a Conference on Global Leadership on the Arctic, in Anchorage. As a sign of  the importance the United States placed on the Alaska forum, the president attended.  He used the conference as a platform to urge swifter action to combat climate change.

Our understanding of climate change advances each day.  Human activity is disrupting the climate, in many ways faster than we previously thought.  The science is stark.  It is sharpening.  It proves that this once-distant threat is now very much in the present.

In fact, the Arctic is the leading edge of climate change — our leading indicator of what the entire planet faces.  Arctic temperatures are rising about twice as fast as the global average.  Over the past 60 years, Alaska has warmed about twice as fast as the rest of the United States.  Last year was Alaska’s warmest year on record — just as it was for the rest of the world.  And the impacts here are very real.

Thawing permafrost destabilizes the earth on which 100,000 Alaskans live, threatening homes, damaging transportation and energy infrastructure, which could cost billions of dollars to fix.

The president is an ideologue, and he knows many things that just aren’t so. The globe is actually cooling. Arctic ice is growing and has been in greater extent this year than last, as has Antarctic ice. There has been no warming at all for the last 18 years. There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” He referred to our forest fires here in Eastern Washington, and said “even the rainforest is on fire.” Oh?

They had a big signing ceremony affirming “our commitment to take urgent action to slow the pace of warming in the Arctic.” But Russia, China and India refused to sign. A bit embarrassing.

Obama added:

“If we do nothing, Alaskan temperatures are projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century ”

Climate politics, a religion, is one thing, climate science is something quite different. It’s actually expected to get somewhat colder.

Obama also announced that he is changing the name of Mt. McKinley to Denali, the Inuit name for the mountain. He really has no authority to do so. The name of the mountain was created by an act of Congress, and can be re-named the same way. The president is feeling cocky, and intent on overruling Congress at every opportunity.

 



Do You Save Quotations? Here’s a Good One! by The Elephant's Child

From Steven Hayward

Liberalism’s irrepressible drive for an ever larger welfare state without limit arises from at least two premises upon which the left no longer reflects: the elevation of compassion to a political principle (albeit with other people’s money) and the erosion of meaningful constitutional limits on government on account of the idea of progress.



A Few Practical Words on Immigration by The Elephant's Child

From Hillsdale College’s Imprimus:
“Practical Thoughts on Immigration”
by Heather MacDonald

The lesson from the last 20 years of immigration policy is that lawlessness breeds more lawlessness. Once a people or a government decides to normalize one form of lawbreaking, other forms of lawlessness will follow until finally the rule of law itself is in profound jeopardy. Today, we have a constitutional crisis on our hands. President Obama has decided that because Congress has not granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens living in the U.S., he will do it himself. Let us ponder for a moment just how shameless this assertion of power is.

Article 2, Section 3, of the Constitution mandates that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This provision assumes that there is a law for the president to execute. But in this case, the “problem” that Obama is purporting to fix is the absence of a law granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Rather than executing a law, Obama is making one up—arrogating to himself a function that the Constitution explicitly allocates to Congress. Should this unconstitutional power grab stand, we will have moved very far in the direction of rule by dictator. Pace Obama. the absence of a congressional law granting amnesty is not evidence of political failure that must somehow be corrected by unilateral executive action; it is evidence of the lack of popular consensus regarding amnesty. There has been no amnesty statute to date because the political will for such an amnesty is lacking.

Imprimus is a free monthly publication from Hillsdale College. Hillsdale also offers free online courses. (online.hillsdale.edu)



Americans Disapprove the Iran Deal By a 2 to 1 Margin by The Elephant's Child

If you thought possibly that there was something wrong with the “Iran Deal” here it is:

Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the nuclear inspection organization is barred from revealing to the United States any details of deals it has inked with Tehran to inspect its contested nuclear program going forward, according to regional reports.

So America is supposed to sign a “deal” but we are not allowed to know any details? And that is successful negotiating?

The White House did not pursue the nuclear agreement with Iran as an international treaty, because getting U.S. Senate advise and consent for a treaty has “become physically impossible”, Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Have you forgotten already, Mr. Kerry, just who the United States Senate is? They are the elected representatives of the American people who are charged by the Constitution with approving any international agreements, usually called “Treaties.” If they don’t approve a treaty, the agreement fails. Pretending that such a deal is somehow not a treaty because the Senate might not approve it is completely absurd.

Americans oppose President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran’s mullahs by a whopping 57% to 28%. Once the American  people learned that Iran is under no obligation to end its proxy terrorist wars against our troops and our allies (and receives billions of dollars to enhance their effort), and get 24 full days to decide whether they will allow inspectors access, and that there were side agreements that even Congress didn’t get to read, we could safely say that they began to have real doubts. Even 32% of Democrats don’t believe that the agreement will make us safer.

Secretary of State Kerry is not the most convincing witness for the Iran Deal. His insistence that this is the best possible deal, and will prevent Iran getting a nuclear weapons for at least the next 15 minutes or so, is not much of a confidence booster.  Nor does his ability to sell the deal to a dubious Congress create much confidence in his ability as a negotiator, as does his insistence that this is the best deal we could get.

John Hannah of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies noted that:

Specifically, the president said, Iran’s obligation not to develop nuclear weapons “under the Non-Proliferation Treaty does not go away,” while “the Additional Protocol that they have to sign up for under this deal, which requires a more extensive inspection and verification mechanism … stays in place.” Moreover, the president pointed out that in 15 years, the United States will be “much more knowledgeable about what [Iran’s] capabilities are, much more knowledgeable about what their program is and still in a position to take whatever actions we would take today” to stop any effort by the mullahs to break out to a bomb.
Victor Davis Hanson reminds us of the history of appeasement, and whether comparisons to Munich are appropriate. There is a history and if we do not learn from history — we’re going to be in trouble, big trouble.


Monday: Three More Big Decisions From The Supreme Court by The Elephant's Child

Supreme-Court-Justices-2

After finding something or other somewhere in the Constitution that recognized a national right to same-sex marriage and rewriting the Affordable Care Act to fix the actual language that Congress wrote into the law, there are still three more big decisions, which we will hear on Monday.

1. Execution Methods

Glossip v. Gross

At issue is whether the sedative midazolam presents an unconstitutional risk of severe pain in executions of condemned criminals. Three men on Oklahoma’s death row claim that midazolam, the anesthetic the state plans to administer before introducing paralytic and heart-stopping drugs to their bloodstreams, is unreliable, exposing them to an unconstitutional risk of severe pain as they are put to death.

2. Power-Plant Emissions

Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA et.al.

Issue: Whether the EPA unreasonably disregarded costs when it decided to regulate power plant emissions of mercury and other air toxins. The regulations would cost $9.6 billion annually, according to EPA estimates. But the agency said it was appropriate to consider only public health risks—not industry costs—when it decided to regulate coal- and oil-fired generation plants.

3. Congressional Redistricting

Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

Issue: Whether a state may transfer redistricting authority from the legislature to a nonpartisan independent commission. Arizona voters in 2000 passed a ballot initiative that shifted responsibility for drawing congressional districts from the state legislature to an independent redistricting commission made up of two Democrats, two Republicans and an independent.



Only in America. Progressive Talking Points Trump Common Decency Every Time by The Elephant's Child
June 20, 2015, 10:27 pm
Filed under: Politics, Progressivism, The Constitution | Tags: , ,

“Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. … We as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” Barack Obama

What I find most interesting is the extent to which the Left depends on their customary talking points. “Only in America are innocent people killed with guns. We have to ban all guns.” America, you see, is a bad country to the Left: slavery, inequality, poverty, the Indians, corporations,inequality, greed, cruelty, war, torture, discrimination, inequality, diversity, and of late, microaggression and triggering, and, of course, offensive speech of all kinds. They are Progressives, which implies that they are progressing towards something — which seems to be an egalitarian utopia where they are in charge.

But President Obama, speaking angrily about the massacre at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, knew perfectly well that this type of mass violence does indeed happen in other advanced countries. When Behrigh Anders Brevic killed 75 people in Norway in 2011. Mr. Obama went to the Norwegian embassy to express his sympathy and the sympathy of the nation. When two gunmen entered the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and murdered 11 people and injured 11 more, killed a police officer, and another killer murdered five more in a kosher market and wounded eleven, the heads of state of most advanced countries went to Paris and marched in solidarity with the French. Obama skipped that one, perhaps because he didn’t want to be seen condemning Muslims when he was trying to make a deal with Iran.

The shootings in other advanced countries in recent years:*

Behring Anders Breivik killed 75, 2011, Norway
Mohammed Merah killed 7, 2012, France
Genildo Ferreira de França killed 14, 1997, Brazil
Michael Robert Ryan killed 16, 1987, UK
Eric Borel killed 15, 1995, France
Friedrich Leibacher killed 14, 2001,Switzerland
Christian Dornier killed 14, 1989, France
Ljubiša Bogdanović killed 13, 2013, Serbia
Derrick Bird killed 12, 2010, UK
Robert Steinhäuser killed 16, 2002, Germany
Tim Kretschmer killled 15, 2009, Germany
Wellington Menezes de Oliveira killed 12, 2011, Brazil
Bai Ningyang killed 12, 2006, China
Juhani Matti Saari killed 10, 2008, Finland
Huanming Wu killed 9, 2010, China
Ahmed Ibragimov killed 41, 1999, Russia
Ami Popper killed 7, 1990, Israel
Antoní Blažka killed 6, 2013, Czech Republic

Looking back a little further, there is the Holodomor in 1930s Ukraine, the Rape of Nanking, the Holocaust, the Bataan Death March, to mention only a few of the larger unpleasantnesses in advanced countries. Why would the presidential mind turn directly to Leftist political talking points? Because advocating gun control demonstrates empathy, which leaves the Right as the party that does not care — a popular accusation of the Left, but suggesting that bad things only happen in America, because Americans don’t follow the prescriptions of the Left, is pretty common too.

Progressive  progress toward greater equality leaves Republicans or conservatives defending inequality. Republicans don’t believe that you can make people equal, except in the Constitutional sense of equality of opportunity and equality before the law. Or to put it differently, Republicans recognize imperfect human nature. Some of us are smart, some are not, some are beautiful, some are not. Some are talented, some are not. Some are crooks, some are not. Progressives seem to believe that imperfect human nature can be fixed, with wise regulations and management by themselves. As is often said, inside every Leftist is a tyrant trying to get out. They want to control, to regulate, because smart people like them, who went to the right schools and think the right thoughts can better organize America to be more — progressive.

*list from Wayne Laugesen, Colorado Springs Gazette



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

Constitution

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.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,322 other followers

%d bloggers like this: