Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Climate scientists have discovered a new stage in the scientific method.

1. Make observation
2. Ask a question
3. Develop hypothesis
4. Conduct experiment to test hypothesis
5. Observe results
6. Conclusions
7. Go back to step 5 and adjust data until you get the answers you want
8. Use government authority to prosecute anyone who questions your conclusions and demands

Scientists from several universities and research centers even asked Obama to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to prosecute groups that “have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change.”

If the conclusions were so self-evident, it wouldn’t be necessary to go after dissenters.  There are anti-vaccination advocates throughout Hollywood and the “crunchy” parent circles, something which easily and simply does cause real, immediate harm by rendering the population more susceptible to diseases (one quick example).  No one goes after them… but of course the point isn’t science for the global warmers, the point is internationalist redistribution of wealth and resources – watermelon environmentalism.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.S. government says it will begin using the term “sexual rights” in discussions of human rights and global development.

Not really sure I have much on that one.  I’m sure it will turn into more lectures to Kenyans about how they should run their country.

“On one level, it’s symbolic. It also sends a signal to the global community that sexual and reproductive health and rights are a part of the global development agenda,” Serra Sippel, the center’s president, told The Associated Press. She said it follows “huge strides” made under the Obama administration on LGBT issues.

Yup, now instead of LGBT people in Iraq and Syria hanging out in the closet, they’re being thrown off of roofs.  Real improvement.

Speaking at a meeting of the U.N. women’s agency Tuesday, Richard Erdman, a deputy U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said the United States would use the term “sexual rights” for those that are not legally binding.

“Sexual rights are not human rights, and they are not enshrined in international human rights law; our use of this term does not reflect a view that they are part of customary international law,” he said. “It is, however, a critical expression of our support for the rights and dignity of all individuals regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”

Nevertheless, Sippel described the U.S. decision as “the United States catching up with the rest of the world.”

Not legally binding, not considered human rights, but it’s an expression of support that will agitate a lot of the rest of the world – a lot of the world that the US is not “catching up with” – because most of the world is not very LGBT friendly.  Yay for the SJW finger-wagging.  It will grate on allies and will not make a whit of difference to enemies.

If the objective was to protect the lives of LGBT people in other nations because it were legally binding – say, pushing for nations to not execute gays just because they’re gay – that’d be something else.  Or maybe even a demand to just start with not executing women suspected of adultery, or executing rape victims as adulteresses – those would all be initiatives easy to support  It would be a movement of support for human life.  This is just a slow cultural leftist push designed to devalue traditional structures in other nations, to the point that maybe those pushing for it don’t know what the activists are really having them push for.

Rights don’t come from a UN declaration, either, but that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the statist mind.

And finally, via ZeroHedge – irony…

orwell irony

The EPA edited out the “what do we do now?” part.  Don’t want to broadcast exactly how incompetent you are.

If you watched all of those two videos, keep in mind that the EPA used threats of fines to get onto those properties in order to dump that contaminated water down rivers.  The mine owner told them no and fought them on it because the EPA had dumped contamination from other mines into water supplies.

The water inside the mines was contained.  There may have been some leaching, but there’s a big difference between a few ppm seeping out of a mine and several million gallons of toxic sludge sliding down into surface waterways.  Contained water also would make for something easy to access and easy to clean up – it’s in one place.  To make it crazy simple: they could’ve found the highest accessible point on the mine (or drilled from above to make a new one), run a pipe down into the mine, hooked it up to a pump and either a treatment area or a tanker truck to remove it, and done that slowly until the mine was emptied to a manageable level.

It’s not just easy in hindsight, it’s easy in foresight.  Water gets into holes in the ground.  The EPA knew this from the get-go, and knew it from the last time they spilled.  Go from the top and you can take it out.  Go from the bottom, and you get wet.  It’s really not complicated.

beaumaris castle moatSir EPAingly: “Okay, we’re gonna undermine those walls so we can collapse the castle defenses and take the castle!”
Peasant conscript: “Uh, won’t the water flow into our tunnel and kill us all?”
Sir EPAingly: “Silence, peasant!  I know what is best, for I am the heir to house EPA!  We dig!”

Via HotAir, discussing the subject of fines:

They came up in conversation when the mine owner tried to keep them from messing around with site. Todd Hennis had some experience with the EPA in the past and they had caused some similar leaks at another property of his. This time he told them he didn’t want them in there messing around, but they made their position clear. (Washington Examiner)

Mr. Hennis said he opposed having the EPA investigate leakage from the inactive mine near Silverton, Colorado, because he had tangled with the agency in previous years over its work at another mine he owns in Leadville, Colorado.

“I said, ‘No, I don’t want you on my land out of fear that you will create additional pollution like you did in Leadville,’” Mr. Hennis told Colorado “They said, ‘If you don’t give us access within four days, we will fine you $35,000 a day.’”

The EPA has admitted that its agents accidentally unleashed the acidic flood, which has since contaminated the San Juan River in New Mexico and seeped into Lake Powell in Utah, albeit in very low concentrations.

Yup.  The owner of the mine said “no, you wrecked my land before, you’ll do it again”… and the EPA threatened fines, and then they wrecked his land.  Again.  And your land.  And my land.

Hennis warned them.  He told them.  And the EPA threatened him, and so the EPA did it anyway.

And it’s not the first time:

The 3-million-gallon heavy-metal spill two weeks ago in Silverton polluted three states and touched off national outrage. But the EPA escaped public wrath in 2005 when it secretly dumped up to 15,000 tons of poisonous waste into another mine 124 miles away. That dump – containing arsenic, lead and other materials – materialized in runoff in the town of Leadville, said Todd Hennis, who owns both mines along with numerous others.

“If a private company had done this, they would’ve been fined out of existence,” Hennis said. “I have been battling the EPA for 10 years and they have done nothing but create pollution. About 20 percent (of Silverton residents) think it’s on purpose so they can declare the whole area a Superfund site.”  …

It’s against this backdrop that the Environmental Protection Agency began lobbying to declare part of Leadville a Superfund site in order to develop a recreational area called the Mineral Belt Trail. The project was officially completed in 2000, but apparently the agency stayed on and continued to work in town.

In late 2005, the EPA collected tons of sludge from two Leadville mines and secretly dumped it down the shaft of the New Mikado mine without notifying Hennis, its owner, according to documents reviewed by Watchdog.  …

A drainage tunnel had been installed at the bottom of the mine shaft by the U.S. government in 1942, meaning that any snow or rain would leach toxins into the surrounding land.

Hennis said the EPA claims it has installed a treatment pond near the tunnel to clean runoff. The EPA rebuffed his demands to clean up the mess it created in his mine, he said. In frustration, Hennis sent the county sheriff a certified notice that any EPA officials found near his property were trespassing and should be arrested.

Despite that history of bitterness, in 2010, the EPA asked Hennis to grant its agents access to Gold King Mine in Silverton because the agency was investigating hazardous runoff from other mines in the region.

“I said, ‘No, I don’t want you on my land out of fear that you will create additional pollution like you did in Leadville,’” Hennis said. The official request turned into a threat, Hennis said: “They said, ‘If you don’t give us access within four days, we will fine you $35,000 a day.’

An EPA administrative order dated May 12, 2011 said its inspectors wanted to conduct “drilling of holes and installing monitoring wells, sampling and monitoring water, soil, and mine waste material from mine water rock dumps…as necessary to evaluate releases of hazardous substances…”

When the EPA hit Hennis with $300,000 in fines, he said, he “waved the white flag” and allowed the agency on his property.

And this was the result after the EPA went to his mine:

animas river 150811

24 hours passed with no notification to the lower states or Navajo Nation; the White House ignored mentioning the incident; and it took a week for the EPA administrator to tour Durango downstream, while refusing to visit Silverton itself.

The EPA is unaccountable for anything they do.  They have a history of destructive actions and they won’t be held accountable.

And now estimates at cleanup range from $338 million to $27 billion.

I wonder if these EPA goons are the ones out of the Denver office who shit in the hallways of their building?  (From GovExec last year.)

It appears, however, that a regional office has reached a new low: Management for Region 8 in Denver, Colo., wrote an email earlier this year to all staff in the area pleading with them to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway.

In the email, obtained by Government Executive, Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor mentioned “several incidents” in the building, including clogging the toilets with paper towels and “an individual placing feces in the hallway” outside the restroom.

Confounded by what to make of this occurrence, EPA management “consulted” with workplace violence “national expert” John Nicoletti, who said that hallway feces is in fact a health and safety risk. He added the behavior was “very dangerous” and the individuals responsible would “probably escalate” their actions.

Yeah, they escalated it to the tune of 3 million gallons of toxic sludge that they smeared across the western US.

A couple days ago, the EPA decided to stick its nose into something looking for someone to fine in the name of Gaia, and instead dumped a million gallons of toxic sludge and heavy metals down the Animas River in CO, UT, NM, and AZ.

A federal cleanup crew accidentally caused a big, and potentially hazardous, mess in Colorado, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

An estimated 1 million gallons of wastewater spilled out of an abandoned mine area in the southern part of the state on Wednesday, turning the Animas River orange and prompting the EPA to tell locals to avoid it.

animas river durango 150811 before and after

Oh, wait, did the EPA say 1 million?  They meant 3 million.  Until the next revision as they “tell the truth slowly” and it becomes 10 million or 100 million.

The agency, meanwhile, remains under intense fire after its contractors accidentally breached a dam at the mine last week and sent toxic sludge flowing into the Animas River. The contaminated water has spread to New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, and EPA officials were forced to concede that more than 3 million gallons were released into the river — a much higher amount than the agency’s initial estimate of 1 million gallons.

It’s really bad.

animas river 150811

A map of the San Juan river watershed gives some idea of how much this pollution the EPA caused is going to impact:

san juan river map w animas

This is a huge area the EPA has managed to pollute.

The big question is, as WT hints at, is anyone going to be held accountable?

Although not comparable in magnitude, the spill in some ways is reminiscent of BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which famously led President Obama to say he was looking for someone’s “ass to kick” in response and prompted Ken Salazar, the interior secretary at the time, to vow to keep his “boot on the neck” of BP.

This time, with a federal agency responsible for the spill, the talk hasn’t been so tough.

Critics say the administration is exercising a clear double standard by failing to demand the kind of accountability — including the firings of those responsible — that it has demanded of private companies.

They also say the EPA has seriously damaged its own credibility by failing to reveal the incident until a day later, and by initially downplaying the size of the spill.

If the EPA were to be treated like a private company, it would be getting fined, its officers would be getting fined, its people directly responsible for operations that caused the pollution would be going to prison, and the company would likely be destroyed.

Since it’s the EPA, expect nothing to happen.  There’ll be some angry comments, but much like when the ATF sent guns to narcoterrorist cartels with Fast and Furious – the express opposite of what their job is, when the EPA poisons an entire river in the express opposite of what their job is – no one will be held accountable.

This is more indicative of living in an age where rule of law has fallen to the wayside.  The government that’s supposed to be held to the highest standard instead decides if it feels like punishing itself for failures, and because it’s just more convenient not to, it won’t.  And they know you either can’t or won’t do anything about it, so they have zero problem with shutting down all the coal plants in the US with rules they just made up based on fantasy while they actually poison rivers.

Hypocrisy is irrelevant because they determine what is wrong and right.  The law applies to you, not to them.  Enjoy your pollution courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency – if it weren’t for them, you’d have cleaner rivers and air regionally managed by state environmental departments, cheaper electric bills and the economy and environment would be better.

As an aside, since the BP 2010 spill was mentioned, it’s important to note the only reason they were out drilling in deep water where a spill is so difficult to contaminate is because they were forced far offshore.  If the rig had been in shallower water, it’d’ve been easier to drill, there’d be less likelihood of a spill to begin with, and if there were a spill, it’d be that much easier to fix at 200 feet down as opposed to 5100 feet down.

From the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Marine detailed to the office of California GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. was arrested Tuesday for possession of an unregistered firearm after a loaded .45 caliber handgun was discovered in his vehicle.

Gunnery Sgt. Peter Boby, a congressional fellow in the Corps’ Office of Legislative Affairs, was arrested after being stopped at a security checkpoint near a House office building, according to the U.S. Capitol Police.

Moral of this story: don’t go to DC.

Boby was also charged with carrying a pistol without a license and possession of unregistered ammunition. He processed at Capitol Police headquarters.

This is a DC thing.  If your pistol isn’t licensed by DC (and they won’t license it), then any ammunition possessed is considered unregistered and is also a crime.  If the GySgt had somehow managed to win a golden ticket to have his .45 registered, if he accidentally had some .22 lr or 5.56mm or 9mm ammo in his range bag, then could still be arrested for unregistered ammo, because the ammo has to go with the gun DC deigned to permit you to have.

“He’s a hero who’s seen combat, who’s been wounded and who’s been in good standing with the Marine Corps throughout,” Hunter said. “We are still getting the facts but this was most likely an accident. There’s no reason to suggest it was intentional.”

Ignorance of any of the massive amount of law that exists is no defense.  Mens rea is meaningless.  The Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment are also meaningless.  The people have the right to keep and bear arms except when the government decides you can’t, especially as the government will use taxpayer money to fund their lawyers to fight you tooth and nail in court to continue crushing your natural rights.

Unless you’re David Gregory, of course.

david gregory marine gy 150805


Update: Just to clarify, the way it reads is he was stopped at a security checkpoint.  The kind of place they should say “no, you have to leave that item outside or check it here before entering”, not the kind of place where you’re stomped by casual tyranny and arrested for “the Bill of Rights means nothing in the nation’s capitol, fool!”

We keep finding out it’s a bigger breach than we were told it was:

Washington (CNN) – The personal data of an estimated 18 million current, former and prospective federal employees were affected by a cyber breach at the Office of Personnel Management – more than four times the 4.2 million the agency has publicly acknowledged. The number is expected to grow, according to U.S. officials briefed on the investigation.

FBI Director James Comey gave the 18 million estimate in a closed-door briefing to Senators in recent weeks, using the OPM’s own internal data, according to U.S. officials briefed on the matter. Those affected could include people who applied for government jobs, but never actually ended up working for the government.

Just to give some idea what’s included in that vague term “data” – it includes SF86 forms done by the huge numbers of government employees who have any security clearance or any job related to security.  For readers who aren’t familiar with the SF86, you can skim the form here.  It’s 127 pages long in that PDF, and is very, very in-depth.  It’s basically putting down a pretty substantial part of your life story in order to apply for a job.  And now all of that data is in the hands of the Chinese government and whoever they’ve decided to sell it to.

Citing the long, long list of Obama administration failures – from Fast and Furious to VA death lines to Benghazi and a dozen more, Jim Geraghty at NRO found it to be characteristic of the whole Obama Administration:

We are governed by progressives who have an infinite faith in the federal government’s ability to manage enormously complicated tasks and almost no interest in ensuring the government actually does those tasks well.

What I found interesting was that the data breach as DC has tried to spin it (because they don’t care about the 4 million plus wage slaves whose government-collected data is now for sale on the black market) was that there might be some risk to US agents overseas, because a pretty big chunk of their life stories and identity has been given away.

I seem to recall that such a thing would be treated with some severity in times past.  I can’t imagine “all data on all US government employees has made it into the hands of the Soviets” being the kind of thing that Eisenhower or Kennedy or Nixon or Reagan would just blow off as “optics”.

Heck, the idea of government employee identities being compromised to a hostile power is crux of the plot in the James Bond film Skyfall.

It’s interesting to watch the left try to figure this out.  Over at Daily Beast, there’s a somewhat bizarre piece about the prosecutor and the legality of Freddie Gray’s knife.

The weapon police described is definitely illegal—so why did Marilyn Mosby say it wasn’t? The answer hinges on a single spring.

So the man goes to jail or goes free, lives or dies, according to whether or not his knife has a spring in it?

Larry Kobilinsky, a professor of forensic science at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, believes Gray’s knife could make or break Mosby’s case.

“I think it makes a lot of difference if the arrest was legal,” Kobilinsky said. “If they took him into custody and had reasonable suspicion that a crime had been committed, then they acted reasonably in restraining him and taking him to jail.”

Furthermore, by saying the arrest was illegal, Mosby has made the case to the public that cops should have never begun what ended with Gray’s death. Cops surely had no right to kill Freddie Gray, but they may have had the right to arrest him. All of that—and what happens next in Baltimore—may now hinge on a single spring.

Freddie Gray had a substantial criminal history, and running when you see the police is something that may draw police attention, but he was arrested and ultimately ended up dead – whether due to trying to injure himself in the back of the police van in order to serve time in a hospital rather than jail, or malfeasance or murder on the cops part – because of a cutting tool that’s been around for thousands of years.

It’s a knife.  Who cares how it opens?

(Also a minor note in the Daily Beast piece – cops do not have a “right” to arrest.  They have an authority to arrest.  A right is intrinsic, God-given or nature-given, and inherent to free men, an authority is derived from the state’s power.)

From KnifeRights:

While it is theoretically possible that without the presence of a knife in his pocket, Gray might have been arrested on some other trumped-up charge, it is clear that the presence of a knife was used as the actual basis for the arrest, and the practice has unfortunately become a common one.

Thousands of law-abiding citizens are regularly harassed and arrested for nothing more than carrying this basic tool, and that is unacceptable. Knife Rights is committed to forging a Sharper Future by passing knife law preemption and removing all restrictions on the lawful carry of knives. Those who misuse any tool (knife or otherwise) in the commission of a crime should be severely punished, but law-abiding citizens who possess knives should be left alone.

If Freddie Gray was out on his streetcorner dealing drugs (and discussion of repeal of drug prohibition is another question), then why wasn’t he arrested for that?  If he was out conspiring with other known criminals to conduct some crime, why wasn’t he arrested for conspiracy for that attempted crime?

When the arrest is “he had an illegal knife”… I’d be curious to know why that knife was illegal?  Also, with the thousands of incomprehensible laws on the books making mens rea for any crime a real stretch, did he know that knife was illegal?

And how is a ban on a sharp piece of metal Constitutional?  And how is a conviction for carrying a sharp piece of metal ever upheld as Constitutional?

Knife laws are often even worse than gun laws, because people just know to avoid certain states when it comes to guns.  People don’t know that some municipality decided to ban carrying of a pocketknife because some pants-wetting progressive statist in the 1950s saw “West Side Story” and decided they needed a way to arrest those ethnic hoodlums.

The left does want to see everyone defenseless, and would agree with draconian Sword Hunts in order to render people defenseless, but for those people who don’t believe in being dominated by an all-powerful state, why would you want anyone chased down, arrested, sent to prison or possibly killed because they have a sharp piece of metal in their pocket that opens with a spring?

Why is Freddie Gray dead over something that’s legal in so many other states?

And why is the left so infuriated over an arrest for knife control laws they support and the resulting death in police custody in a leftist state that has the kinds of leftist knife (and gun) control laws they want to inflict on everyone?  They got the government they wanted to make.  They got the knife from his cold dead hands.

As an addendum, there are a handful of people who are coming around to seeing that the roots and the effects of knife control laws are racist (just like gun control laws).  Despite the story being from inherently biased Bloomberg:

“I don’t see knives posing that big of a danger to the public,” Representative Harold Dutton Jr., who sponsored the bill, said in an interview. “Now that we’re going to let everybody have a gun, I think we ought to set knives free.”

Dutton, a black Democrat from Houston, sees knife laws as a threat to civil rights.

“It is another one of those things that helps establish probable cause for a policeman to stop you,” he said.

Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old Baltimore man whose April death in police custody ignited riots, was arrested after police said they noticed a knife inside his pants.

Guns or knives in this case are just the same – they’re tools and also individual arms for any uses that don’t infringe on someone else’s life, rights, property or person.  Frankly it’s insane that the state’s enforcers could send you to prison for decades for the “crime” of owning them, or that you could end up dead in police custody arrested for a knife that might have had a spring in it, and even more insane that there are people who still support and advocate eliminating the rights of the citizenry to own those tools at all.

The argument is frequently heard that “if those weapons exist in people’s hands they will hurt someone”, which is both absurd and as ridiculous as the “if it saves one child’s life” plea for more tyranny.  Regardless of anything else involved in the case and his past history, Freddie Gray is dead because some hand-wringing leftist demanded he be sacrificed for their world where only the police and the state have weapons – the very institutions that killed Freddie Gray.

Lives only matter to the progressive left when it’s convenient – doesn’t matter the gender, age, creed, background or color they are.