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:
House Republicans, accelerating efforts to combat the frenetic influx of federal regulations that continue to flood the U.S. economy, passed the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) Friday, which would require all federal agencies to audit proposed rules more thoroughly before they are enacted, and make sure procedures for rulemaking follow proper steps. Federal courts would be more involved in the process, and regulators would be forced to examine potential costs and benefits of alternatives.
Opponents of the legislation claim it will emasculate environmental improvements, workplace safety, and the safety of children’s toys.
The 253-167 vote will move the regulation bill to the Democrat-led Senate, where analysts believe it is likely to be smothered. The White House vowed a veto before the vote took place, claiming the legislation would obstruct the federal government’s regulatory authority with unprecedented hurdles.
OMB Watch, a liberal advocacy group that monitors federal regulations and strives to make public the secretive actions of the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), blasted the bill in a press release. The organization’s president, Katherine McFate, stated, "Today, the House voted to bulldoze a half century of rulemaking procedures with the deliberately mislabeled Regulatory Accountability Act."
Despite billions in taxpayer subsidies pumped into the so-called “green-energy” industry, almost 15,000 windmills — maybe more — have been left to rot across America. And while the turbines have been abandoned over a period of decades, the growing amount of “green junk” littering the American landscape is back in the headlines again this week.
Across the country, subsidized wind farms are meeting increasing resistance — and not just from taxpayers and electricity consumers forced to foot the bill. "If wind power made sense, why would it need a government subsidy in the first place?” wondered Heritage Foundation policy analyst Ben Lieberman, who deals with energy and environmental issues. “It's a bubble which bursts as soon as the government subsidies end."
It turns out that wind power is expensive and inefficient even in the best wind-farm locations in the world. And regular power plants always need to be on standby in case there is no wind, not enough wind, or even too much of it — a fairly regular occurrence.
That is why, when the tax subsidies run out, the towering metallic structures are often simply abandoned. In their wake: a scarred landscape and dead wildlife — the very same ills offered as justifications by administration officials for preventing oil exploration.