American Elephants


The Supreme Court Calls a Halt to the EPA’s Overreach by The Elephant's Child
June 29, 2015, 8:30 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Energy, Law, Regulation | Tags: , ,

In the case of Michigan v. EPA, the Supreme Court addressed a matter that is genuinely outside of voter’s control, the way-too-rapid expansion of the regulatory state. The problems all began with the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The problem seemed simple to Congress. We want clean air and clean water, and that’s what the EPA should be doing.

But the EPA is an agency filled with environmental activists and zealots, fully in line with Obama’s unwarranted belief in a dangerous global warming, and sure that the correct answer is to get rid of fossil fuels,  carbon dioxide as a pollutant, and carbon in general.  The answer is to force Americans to want to rely clean energy sources like solar and wind, with no understanding that solar and wind do not produce enough energy to be a significant source of power.

The EPA wants to force all coal-fired power plants to either shut down or do a lot or retrograding to eliminate any emissions from that nasty fossil fuel.  Around 40 percent of our electricity is supplied by coal-fired power plants. The EPA’s new regulations would cost $9.6 billion annually, but the EPA claimed that it was appropriate to consider only public health risks. Well, nobody seems to know if there actually are any public health risks. They always put asthma at the top of their list of future childhood death, but the medical profession does not currently know what causes asthma, so that is a complete canard. By some estimates the cost of electricity would go up by as much as $1,200 per year for every American household.

The majority opinion, authored by Justice Antonin Scalia, found that the EPA “unreasonably” interpreted the Clean Air Act to constitute a vehicle by which the environmental regulatory agency could institute new guidelines that were all but overtly aimed at shuttering “dirty” power plants. “EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants,” the opinion read. That’s significant; contrary to the wealth of shallow emotionality that suffices for modern political commentary, profits matter. Individual livelihoods and the economic health of the nation are still protected by the Constitution, and they should not be subordinated to environmental sustainability in the zero-sum game that has become America’s regulatory culture.



Call it ScotusCare! The Supreme Court Does Legislating From the Bench. by The Elephant's Child

The Supreme Court announced their decision in King v, Burwell. Conservatives are dismayed at the Court’s complicity in rewriting the Affordable Care Act. President Obama has been threatening the court for days attempting to cow the Supremes. What influence his threats had is not known, but hopefully is is none. Nevertheless, Chief Justice Roberts bypassed the separation of powers, and decided to help the Democrats out by assuming that the law didn’t mean what it said, and he would fix it by rewriting it. Essentially what he did the last time around. Rewriting the words of Congress to mean what they would have to say to make the law work — is making law.  The Supreme Court is supposed to decide whether the words as written are Constitutional, that’s the judicial function. Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting, called it “somersaults of statutory interpretation” but it is legislating, not judging.

Holman Jenkins got it right:

By one standard no government program can fail, and that’s the standard being applied to ObamaCare by its supporters: If a program exists and delivers benefits, the program is working.

The polls do show that 74% of ObamaCare’s eight million enrollees are satisfied with their plans, because 87% of them are getting taxpayer subsidies that amount to an annual $3,312 per recipient, which is a pretty good deal for the recipients, not so much for the taxpayers. Oddly enough, those who are basically in good health, but just need flu shots or treatment for some minor deal, a broken arm, a sore throat are pretty pleased with their health care.Taxpayers who find that their premiums are going up 20% – 30%. or who find out their deductible has gone up to $6,000 aren’t so happy, because they are paying their premiums and their full medical bills besides. Jenkins again:

The right question about any program is whether the benefits justify the expenditure of taxpayer money. ObamaCare’s cheerleaders provide not cost-benefit analysis but benefit analysis—as if money grows on trees or is donated by Martians or can be printed in limitless quantities by the Fed. …

In the meantime, however, no worthwhile thoughts about ObamaCare, pro or con, are to be heard from people who count a program as a success just because Americans enjoy receiving benefits at the expense of other Americans.



Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Denies a Stay of the Inunction Against Obama’s Executive Amnesty by The Elephant's Child
May 26, 2015, 7:00 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

A federal appeals court has upheld a U.S. district court’s injunction preventing the Obama administration’s executive amnesty programs from moving forward.

U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hannan placed a preliminary injunction on Obama’s executive amnesty programs in February, and denied a  second request from the Justice Department in March — ruling that the executive order must not be implemented until the lawsuit from the states is decided, keeping the programs from taking effect. Obama’s attempts at amnesty included the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). Judge blocked the programs after a coalition of 26 states challenged the executive amnesty. The federal government did not help their case by preceding to grant work permits to illegals anyway, in spite of the injunction.

Justice Department lawyers sought a stay on the injunction fro the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court declined to issue a stay on a 2-1 vote because it concluded the government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal. This represents a significant setback for Obama’s executive amnesty plans.

Judge Smith noted that the:

affirmative act of conferring “lawful presence” on a class of unlawfully present aliens. Though revocable, that new designation triggers eligibility for federal and state benefits that would be otherwise available.’

Although prosecutorial discretion is broad, it is not ‘unfettered.’ Declining to prosecute does not convert an act deemed unlawful by Congress into a lawful one and confer eligibility for benefits based on that new classification.

Both the State of Texas and the Obama administration have signaled willingness to take the case to the Supreme Court. The

Texas is leading the 26 state coalition that is challenging the amnesty. Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin are members of the coalition.



ObamaCare Is in Danger: Liberals Are Incredulous! Impossible! by The Elephant's Child

Perhaps you remember back when the Democrat Congress and Speaker Nancy Pelosi passed ObamaCare, and she was asked where in the Constitution Congress found the power to enact a “individual mandate” to buy insurance. The then Speaker responded with an incredulous “Are you serious? Are  you serious?”

The Volokh Conspiracy listed today  some of the Pearls of constitutional wisdom from our elected representatives:

Here are a few more pearls of constitutional wisdom from our elected representatives.
Rep. Conyers cited the “Good and Welfare Clause” as the source of Congress’s authority [there is no such clause].
Rep. Stark responded, “the federal government can do most anything in this country.”
Rep. Clyburn  replied, “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the federal government has anything to do with most of the stuff we do. How about [you] show me where in the Constitution it prohibits the federal government from doing this?”
Rep. Hare said “I don’t worry about the Constitution on this, to be honest […] It doesn’t matter to me.” When asked, “Where in the Constitution does it give you the authority …?” He replied, “I don’t know.”
Sen. Akaka said he “not aware” of which Constitutional provision authorizes the healthcare bill.
Sen. Leahy added, “We have plenty of authority. Are you saying there’s no authority?”
Sen. Landrieu told a questioner, “I’ll leave that up to the constitutional lawyers on our staff.”

Well, it hasn’t been overturned yet, and may not be, but the possibility hadn’t even occurred to Democrats.

Chris Matthews was incredulous. “No one I know ever said ObamaCare could be overturned” “I never heard it discussed politically— that they could overturn his major achievement.”

For most of the last century, Liberals have preached that the Constitution is a living document that needs to be interpreted and re-interpreted to fit the needs of the times.  That interpretation leads them to a vast expansion of government and a large number of new rights that suit the needs of whatever election is current. Activist liberal judges have consistently ignored the constitution and imposed their own ideas, and changed the way we think about government.  The very idea that a conservative majority might rule ObamaCare unconstitutional has the editorial writers at the New York Times up in arms: “The Supreme Court faces a central test: whether it will recognize limits on its own authority to overturn well-founded acts of Congress.” They are shocked! Shocked!

The Times— completely missing the irony — believes that if the court overturns ObamaCare, it will be a “willful rejection” of “established constitutional principles that have been upheld for generations.” We can hope.



President Obama Nominates Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. by The Elephant's Child

President Barack Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court today.  The nomination is the major news on the internet today. There is much to be troubled by, but it will take time for exploration of  her background and qualifications to take place.

Attorney Paul Mirengoff of Power Line wasted no words:

She has no judging experience.

She has little experience as a practicing lawyer.

She has approximately one year of experience as Solicitor General of the United States.

She has lots of experience in academia, but has published only a small amount of scholarly work, none of which seems particularly noteworthy.

As the dean of Harvard Law School, she was tolerant of conservative law professors, but not of the United States military.

This briefly sums up what everyone else has said in a brief space.  We will have ample time to fill in the blanks.

A Supreme Court nomination is a very big deal.  It is a lifetime appointment, and decisions will influence the country for generations.  At present there is a great divide between those who revere the Constitution that has served us so well for 223 years, and those who feel that the Constitution must change and develop in concert with the ideas of the political party in power.



Why Do The Democrats Hate Free Speech? by The Elephant's Child

The Supreme Court handed down a major decision in Citizens United v. FEC, the “Hillary: The Movie” case that was first argued last March, reargued in September, and finally decided last Thursday, January 21, 2010.

Background: During the 2008 election campaign, the nonprofit group Citizens United wanted to make a film available on cable-on-demand that was critical of then-candidate Hillary Clinton.  Because Citizens United is organized as a corporation, under the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law, its speech was banned.  The movie was not allowed to be shown, and the law was backed by criminal sanctions.  Section 441b makes it a felony for all corporations — including nonprofit advocacy corporations — either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election.

Citizens United challenged this ban, and the Supreme Court struck down this provision of McCain-Feingold , reversing a previous ruling — Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce —that permitted the government to ban corporations and labor unions from promoting or opposing political candidates.

Paul Sherman, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which litigates free-speech cases nationwide points out:

The ruling in Citizens United is a straightforward application of basic First Amendment principles:  “When Government seeks to use its full power…to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought.  This is unlawful.  The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.”

The Democrats are OUTRAGED:  Corporations are not entitled to free speech, political expenditures are not “speech”, protections of the Free Speech Clause properly apply to individuals not corporations, this will corrupt the democratic process,  will radically increase powerful corporate influence in politics, blah, blah, blah. Democrats are afraid that corporations benefit Republicans, and free speech should not apply to anyone who might be critical of Democrats.

The First Amendment is about political speech, and if free speech only applies to speech that is pleasing to you, then it isn’t free, and it isn’t freedom — but tyranny.  You might find it interesting to keep track of the numerous and constant efforts of the Democrats to stifle speech that they don’t like.  For example, President Obama’s ban on Fox News continues.

Just watch.  There will be a concerted effort on the part of the Democrats to overturn or overrule this decision.  The “Democrats” aren’t much on Democracy, the Constitution (needs updating for modern times), especially the First Amendment — although that religion part is useful for getting rid of religious influences.  They’re fairly fond of the “establishment” bit but always, always, ignore the — making no law that might “prohibit the free exercise thereof” part.

Progressives are passionately fond of larger government, the growth of government, and the exercise of lots of government power.  The Constitution puts some firm limits on what government can and cannot do.  They don’t like that.



The Passing of the Spatula by American Elephant

Welcome Michelle Malkin and Ed Driscoll Readers!!

Mr. Good Judgment himself, the man in the bunny suit, also known as Senator John “I voted for the war before I voted against it” Kerry, yesterday reassured concerned Americans that he is still a world-class flip-flopper by declaring that the man he repeatedly begged to be his running mate lacks the judgment to be president.

Remember, this is the man whose service John McCain defended in the 2004 campaign.

Nonetheless, shilling for Barack Obama, the former Democrat presidential candidate, and eternal loser (who by the way served in Vietnam and has yet to release his full military records), said that John McCain, “has proven that he has been wrong about every judgment he’s made about the war.”

Oh really?

Back in the 2006 election cycle, when John Kerry, Barack Obama and the Democrat party were calling for an, up to then, undefined “change” in Iraq policy — which later turned out to mean unconditional surrender of Iraq to insurgents, terrorists and Iran — John McCain had long been supporting troop increases. A policy that Obama not only opposed, but insisted would never work. A policy that even the liberal press is being forced to admit, has been tremendously successful, and has turned out to be exactly the right strategic decision.

John McCain had exactly the right judgment. If we had followed Barack Obama’s “judgment,” the United States military would have cut and run, and Iraq today would be aflame with genocide and civil/regional war between insurgents, al Qaeda, former Ba’athists and Iran all vying for control of the world’s second largest oil supply.

It’s no wonder Obama has announced that he is “refining” his position. If he’s smart, he’ll go back to his 2004 position when he said he wouldn’t do anything differently than President Bush is doing — because President Bush, like John McCain, is right.

So, it is fitting that Mr. Kerry should be one of Obama’s biggest campaigners. The spatula has passed from one world-class flip-flopper to another. Indeed, not only does Obama seem absolutely determined to out-flop his political predecessor, but even before he has officially clinched the nomination it appears he has already done so.

It’s not just Iraq, although it is major, since the centerpiece of his campaign has been his supposed judgement on Iraq, opposition to the surge, and promises to immediately withdraw — it’s hard to find find an issue on which Obama hasn’t drastically contradicted himself. Some examples:

  1. Campaign Finance: Obama pledged, verbally and in writing, to take part in the federal campaign financing, that is until it became clear he was rolling in money. Then he claimed that the system, which has not changed since he made the pledge, was broken, and that he was going back on his promise because of as yet non-existent Republican 527 attack ads. In reality, the only attack ads thus far have been waged against McCain by the Democrat 527, MoveOn.org.
  2. NAFTA: During the primary, Obama appealed to his isolationist base by decrying NAFTA and promising, if necessary, unilateral renegotiation. It has since come out that his staff were simultaneously telling Canadian officials not to worry, that Obama was just playing politics and had no intention of following through. Indeed, he admitted as much in an interview, explaining that, “sometimes during campaigns rhetoric gets overheated and amplified.”
  3. Gay Marriage: Obama has claimed that he opposes gay marriage while his wife was simultaneously reassuring gay groups that her husband would repeal DOMA and opposed any federal measures to “discriminate” against gay relationships. Barack has since made clear that he supports the California Supreme Court’s decision, opposes citizen efforts to overturn it, and has come out in favor of full federal recognition of all legally recognized relationships.
  4. Second Amendment: This year Obama praises the Supreme Court’s decision declaring the Washington DC gun ban unconstitutional: last year his campaign assured Democrat voters the Senator believed the ban was entirely constitutional. Just a few months ago he disparaged voters who “cling” to their guns.
  5. Wiretaps: Obama previously assured his deranged base that he would support any filibuster of attempts to protect telephone companies from lawsuits over their cooperation with the government’s warantless wiretaps. Now Obama defends the law congress just passed which does precisely that.
  6. Iran: Obama was widely criticized as naïve for his declaration that America should meet unconditionally with the leaders of Iran, including by Hillary Clinton and other members of his own party. Unsurprizingly, this is another position he has also “refined.” Indeed, the man whose judgment John Kerry extolls can’t even seem to make up his mind whether Iran poses a threat or not.
  7. Patriotism: Again pandering to his America-loathing base, Obama once refused to wear a flag pin on his lapel and disparaged those who did, claiming it was a “substitute for… true patriotism.” Now, not only is Obama not to be seen without his own “substitute” for patriotism prominently displayed on his chest, but routinely wraps himself in up to 40 American flags at once among other purportedly “patriotic” symbols of his own invention.
  8. His Reverend, mentor and spiritual adviser Jeremiah Wright: The Reverend and church he could no more denounce than he could denounce the black community? Obama denounced them.
  9. Special Interests: Obama often criticized both Hillary and John Edwards for taking money from unions which he described as “special interests.” But now that he is accepting union endorsements, and money, “He now refers respectfully to unions as the representatives of ‘working people’ and says he is ‘thrilled’ by their support.
  10. Cuba: Told Democrat voters in 2004 that it was time to end the Cuba embargo, but assured Cuban-Americans in Florida last August that he would not, “take off the embargo” because it is “an important inducement for change.”
  11. Illegal Immigration: Obama, I’m sure you are by now unfazed to hear, has said both that he would and would not “crack down” on employers who hire illegal immigrants.
  12. Marijuana: The candidate for “change” has also changed his position on the criminalization of marijuana, telling college students he would support decriminalizing pot, and opposing the decriminalization of pot when confronted in a Democrat primary debate.
  13. Abortion: Contradicting his own 100% rating from NARAL, and his vote against the ban on partial birth abortion, Obama has softened, if only slightly, his position on abortion, declaring that “mental distress” shouldn’t count as an exception that would allow partial birth abortion. Well, I suppose he can always favor an exception for “severe mental distress,” since it is clear his campaign has become all about weasel words.

It’s becoming clear what Obama means when he promises “change”, its not political change — he is merely promising to change his position depending on what is most politically expedient for Barack Obama.

All this before the primary campaign has even officially begun! It’s no wonder Obama has Kerry out touting his “judgment”, he’s probably one of the few people on planet Earth that could do it with a straight, albeit very long, face.




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