There never seems to be a dull moment in the United States Congress, which has neared a government shutdown several times in the past two years. On Thursday night, lawmakers may have once again averted a government shutdown by reaching a tentative deal to fund a number of different government agencies through September 30.

Unfortunately for the American people, the deal includes massive spending, totaling $1 trillion.

It is expected to come up for a vote in both the Senate as well as the House of Representatives on Friday to avoid what would be a shutdown of major Washington operations this weekend, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

The Guardian reports, “A deal on a $1 trillion spending bill was reached after Republicans agreed to drop language that would have blocked President Obama’s liberalized rules on people who visit and send money to relatives in Cuba. But a GOP provision will stay in the bill thwarting an Obama administration rule on energy efficiency standards that critics argued would make it hard for people to purchase inexpensive incandescent light bulbs.”

Here's the latest "Freedom Index: A Congressional Scorecard Based on the Constitution."

Between acts of the legislative branch and regulations of branches of the executive branch, due process is being run out of town on a rail. Congress completed action on The National Defense Authorization Act last week, and the Act now awaits President Obama's signature. This law will empower the President to send the military to capture and indefinitely imprison citizens suspected of committing a “belligerent act” without access to an attorney or a trial on the merits of the charges.
 
 

Are African elephants an endangered species?  Like so many questions, the answer depends on who’s giving it. Villagers in northern Uganda whose food the animals devour would likely call them an endangerment — or worse. “[After] I found the elephants eating my crops in the garden, I started banging an empty jerry can to scare them but one of the big elephants charged at me. I was lucky because I ran in between the trees and the elephant stopped. I gave up my garden of millet and rice,” said Mateo Ojok. He’s one of the “internally displaced persons (IDPs) … struggling to resettle because persistent elephant incursions into their fields are threatening their livelihoods, and sometimes, their lives.” Mr. Ojok added, “[Life in] this place is a struggle between the elephants and human beings. The elephants are giving us a hard time, they are really aggressive.”

So aggressive, in fact that “the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates … the annual cost of elephant raids to crops in Africa” at “US$60 in Uganda … per affected farmer.” That’s a sizable chunk of wealth in a country where the “gross national income per capita” for 2009 was $511.9 in “current US [dollars].”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last Thursday that 46 tribal and nonprofit organizations are being granted a combined one million dollars of taxpayer money to fund "environmental justice issues." According to the EPA, such "issues" translate as "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to" the environmental decision-making process.

 

Government climate dignitaries and the Associated Press hailed the “landmark” deal reached Sunday at the United Nations' global-warming summit in Durban, South Africa. According to environmentalist groups, however, the agreement represented a failure of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to “save” the world from supposedly “dangerous” carbon dioxide emissions.

Meanwhile, as the official “science” continues to crumble amid colder temperatures and lower sea levels, critics of UN global-warming theories warned that the foundation was being laid for a dangerous global regime with dire consequences for everyone on Earth. And some progress toward the goal was made in Durban.

Experts said the emerging scheme — to be finalized in the coming years — aims to produce a world government and reduce living standards worldwide. The proposed regime would stifle economic activity and extract ever more wealth from populations while doing absolutely nothing at all to prevent what are essentially natural climate variations, according to critics and scientists.

After running over their scheduled time by more than 36 hours, exhausted “negotiators” representing more than 190 regimes — mostly dictatorships — agreed to work out an enforceable treaty by 2015. The global climate regime would enter into force some five years after that.

No members of Congress or President Obama’s cabinet bothered to show up at this year’s United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa. Attendance at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17), meanwhile, was down about 70 percent from the 2009 global-warming conference. And the media said very little about the gathering.

 

The synergetic bond between former House Speakers Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi extends well beyond the 2008 climate-change commercial that has stirred heated criticism among conservatives, as the GOP presidential hopeful has cosponsored 418 bills in Congress with Pelosi. Such a revelation, particularly when coupled with Gingrich’s Freddie Mac connections, liberal-leaning views on illegal immigration, and support for an individual healthcare mandate, underscore Gingrich's waning support for true conservative principles.

 

Much of the alarmism about alleged climate change is predicated on computer models purporting to demonstrate that global surface temperatures are rising at an alarming rate and are certain to cause all manner of disaster, from droughts and frigid winters to floods and scorching summers. But how reliable are these models and their forecasts?

Not very, says the BBC’s environment correspondent, Richard Black. He maintains that the models currently in use offer wildly divergent forecasts of Earth’s climatic future, particularly when it comes to “precise indications of what the future holds for your farm, your street, your village” — so much so that, regardless of one’s climate-change persuasion, he can find data to support his position.

 

Reports indicate that the predominant costs of implementing the Environmental Protection Agency’s new "green" economy regulations are job loss (as coal plants are forced to close) and mass blackouts.  President Obama admitted in a 2008 interview that he is intent on shutting down the U.S. coal industry:

 

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