American Elephants


As If We Don’t Have Enough Scandals — Now “Fast and Furious” is Back! by The Elephant's Child

eric_holder_fast_furious_contempt_charges

Unbelievable. Scandals under investigation all over the place. The IRS monumental crashes of hard-drives turns out to be contagious. First it was Lois Lerner, then it was six other hard drives of those who were accustomed to communicating with Lois Lerner. Then it was the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who failed to get approval for a massive redecorating of their offices. And the EPA  could not produce the evidence supporting their claims because of a hard drive crash.

The administration’s cause and effect enormous immigration scandal just keeps growing, and they are so fixated on the politics of future Democrat voters that they refuse to recognize what a mess they are making. Mara-Salvatrucha is being paid thousands to get questionable people across the border from China and the Middle East, because the border is essentially wide open. They are sneaking big groups of illegal aliens into states around the country without even informing governors. It will get interesting in the fall when your kids’ school classes are inundated with vast numbers of Spanish-speaking kids, hopefully the ones who have been cleared of being contagious. Apparently there are big problems with kids unfamiliar with modern plumbing who have to be taught how to use the bathroom facilities. The problems are far larger than the administration realized and they are relying on secrecy to prevent the  public from finding out.

Congress is attempting to respond to the VA scandal with more funding and a possibility for vets to escape the wait-times and get more prompt service in the private sector. We would seem to need a major firing spree of those responsible for the long wait times that caused the deaths of so many veterans. I don’t know if that is possible with unionized workers. Jail time would be good. If, as it looks, there is no recognition of the bad incentives based on a requirement that everyone be treated within 14 days. That was the sole efficiency guideline, and hey could not meet it, with the result that they tried to hide the real results. That has to be changed, or it will just repeat.

Now comes news of a scandal so old that we had almost forgotten it. “Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit (FOIA) against the Department of Justice b government watchdog Judicial Watch, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled a list of documents being withheld from Congress under President Obama’s claim of executive privilege must be turned over. Obama made the claim on the same day Attorney General Eric Holder was voted in criminal and civil contempt of Congress in June 2012.” Excellent article by Katie Pavlich, and a huge step forward.

The documentation DOJ is required to now turn over is a “Vaughn index” of “all requested Fast and Furious materials from a June 2012 Judicial Watch FOIA request.”

A Vaughn index must: (1) identify each document withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption.” In ordering the DOJ to provide Judicial Watch the Vaughn index, the Court ruled, “In this circuit, when an agency is withholding documents under exemption claims, courts require that the agency provide a Vaughn index so that the FOIA requester – at a distinct informational disadvantage – may test the agency’s claims.”

“Fast and Furious” if you have forgotten was the huge gun-running scandal that got one of our Border  Patrol agents killed and hundreds of Mexican citizens killed by flooding the cartels in Mexico with guns, in some misguided attempt to promote gun control.

A mostly unacknowledged scandal is the American media’s reluctance to cover anything that might discredit the Obama administration. Apparently American Journalism schools are failing to prepare their students for their important place in the American polity. They are not there to change the world, and they are not there to play politics. An honest journalism profession is knowledgeable about history and geopolitical reality, not just about how to write a lede. They are there to search for truth and  report the facts. They are the watchdog for the people. When they are partisan and report only the news favorable to their side of a debate, they fail their most basic function.



A Timeline of Climate Panic and Crisis: 120 Years of Climate Horrors! by The Elephant's Child

This is quite wonderful: Watts Up With That has a brief history of climate panic and crisis… both warming and cooling.

For at least 114 120 years, climate “scientists” have been claiming that the climate was going to kill us…but they have kept switching whether it was a coming ice age, or global warming.

(A timeline of claims follows, updated to 2014)

  • 1895 - Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again New York Times, February 1895
  • 1902 - “Disappearing Glaciers…deteriorating slowly, with a persistency that means their final annihilation…scientific fact…surely disappearing.” – Los Angeles Times
  • 1912 - Prof. Schmidt Warns Us of an Encroaching Ice AgeNew York Times, October 1912
  • 1923 - “Scientist says Arctic ice will wipe out Canada” – Professor Gregory of Yale University, American representative to the Pan-Pacific Science Congress, – Chicago Tribune
  • 1923 - “The discoveries of changes in the sun’s heat and the southward advance of glaciers in recent years have given rise to conjectures of the possible advent of a new ice age” – Washington Post
  • 1924 - MacMillan Reports Signs of New Ice Age New York Times, Sept 18, 1924

Don’t neglect to read the whole list. Hysteria and calm, panic and crisis — often contradicting themselves.

  • 2012Global warming close to becoming irreversible-scientists. “This is the critical decade. If we don’t get the curves turned around this decade we will cross those lines,” said Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University’s climate change institute, speaking at a conference in London. Reuters, Mar 26, 2012
  • 2013Global-warming ‘proof’ is evaporating.  The 2013 hurricane season just ended as one of the five quietest years since 1960. But don’t expect anyone who pointed to last year’s hurricanes as “proof” of the need to act against global warming to apologize; the warmists don’t work that way. New York Post, Dec 5, 2013
  • 2014  – Climate change: It’s even worse than we thought.  Five years ago, the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change painted a gloomy picture of our planet’s future. As climate scientists gather evidence for the next report, due in 2014, Michael Le Page gives seven reasons why things are looking even grimmer. – New Scientist (undated in 2014)

ADDENDUM: Here is a great roundup of columns from the New York Times and The Washington Post and a few others demonstrating the changing views of climate from 1895, 1912, 1922 through 1976. Should be enough to allay any fears you might ever have entertained. Great fun.



Global Chaos — and It’s Only the First of August! by The Elephant's Child

—Israel and Hamas were having a 3-day cease-fire at the behest of Ban-Ki-Moon and John Kerry. I’m not sure what they think they are accomplishing. This time, it lasted just 90 minutes, at which point Hamas sent a batch of suicide bombers into Israel, and killed two Israeli soldiers.  Then they kidnapped an Israeli soldier. Hamas is a terrorist organization that  wants the destruction of the State of Israel and the death of all its inhabitants. Israel wants Hamas to stop firing missiles into Israel, and they want to destroy all the terror tunnels Hamas has dug. Hamas is fighting to win.

ISIS is threatening Kurdistan, and the Kurds have asked the U.S. for military help. They have a good army, but spread a little thin because the border is so long. Obama turned them down, said they’d have to get help from Iraq’s central government—who are more than a little busy at present. Whatever emergency crops up, Mr. Obama is right on top of it.

—The Russia problem continues. The U.S. and the E.U. will impose new sanctions as soon as Monday, in the hopes that with the right balance of carrots and sticks, Mr. Putin will knock off the power grabs. Slap on the wrists and then we can all get back to ordinary business. Mr. Putin is just acting understandably. Ukraine is part of Russia’s historic sphere of influence, so let him have them.

This is Western self-deception. Mr Putin’s Russia is an authoritarian regime bent on redoing the Cold War. He has no democratic legitimacy, so to maintain power he must employ an increasing nationalism and foreign conquest to maintain power. Foreign meddling is not limited to just historic claims. Mr. Putin is not going to be swayed by either mild sanctions nor by reset buttons. Victor Davis Hanson sums it up:

The Obama administration often either denies any responsibility for the current global chaos or claims that it erupted spontaneously. Yet most of the mess was caused by, or made worse by, growing U.S. indifference and paralysis.

Over the last five and a half years, America has had lots of clear choices, but the administration usually took the path of least short-term trouble, which has ensured long-term hardship.

There was no need to “reset” the relatively mild punishments that the George W. Bush administration had accorded Vladimir Putin’s Russia for invading Georgia in 2008. By unilaterally normalizing relations with Russia and trashing Bush, Barack Obama and then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton only green-lighted further Russian aggression, which has since spread to Crimea and Ukraine.

There was no need for Obama, almost immediately upon assuming office, to distance the U.S. from Israel by criticizing Israel’s policies and warming to its enemies, such as Hamas and the authoritarian Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan.

China, Iran, Syria, Libya, and oh, yes, North Korea, who just threatened to drop a nuclear weapon on the White House.

When the uprising in Syria against Bashar Assad arose, it was dominated by patriotic Syrian freedom fighters who asked for our help. Saudi Arabia and other American allies in the Arab world urged us to provide arms and help to the rebels. We didn’t. Iran and Russia did. They saw the larger importance of the conflict and poured in  weapons and personnel to support Assad. Somewhere in that period Obama did draw a red line, but it didn’t mean anything. The Saudis have clearly stated their opinion. We and the Europeans are naive and ineffective and as a clear result, they have been planning to obtain their own nuclear weapons.

In December of 2010, a Tunisian street vendor set himself on fire to protest the confiscation of his goods and the harassment from municipal officials. That began the Tunisian Revolution and the so-called Arab Spring. That was followed by the Egyptian Revolution  in January of 2011, a popular uprising against Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and then in February, the revolution in Libya began with anti-government demonstrations in Benghazi, which escalated into a civil war. Egypt elected the Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in a questionable election and finally the army took over again. The West condemned, demanded an end  to violence, was concerned — all the usual. We had an ambassador, his aide and two brave former Seals murdered.  And how preposterous does it look now to have attempted to blame that on an amateur video?

Libya is more than unstable, and we have pulled our embassy staff out of Tripoli. Walter Russell Mead is not so sanguine:

Throw in the resulting civil war in Mali and the scattering of insurgents and weapons to the four winds, and you have a classic exhibition of reckless incompetence—of American arrogance, ignorance, carelessness and moralism combining in a toxic stew to sink a fragile country we never understood.

Luckily for America’s self-esteem, it was liberal Democrats that produced this particular shambles. If Republicans had done this, the media would be on the administration non-stop, perhaps comparing Samantha Power to Paul Wolfowitz—a well-meaning humanitarian way over her head who wrecked a country out of misguided ideology. There might also be some pointed questions for future presidential candidates who supported this fiasco. But since both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have their fingerprints all over Libya, there isn’t a lot of press hunger for a detailed, unsparing autopsy into this stinking corpse of policy flub.

If Obama were a Republican, the press and the weekly news shows would be ringing with hyperbolic, apocalyptic denunciations of the clueless incumbent who had failed to learn the most basic lessons of Iraq.

ISIS is still rampaging over Iraq. Egypt, Jordan and even the Palestinian West Bank are hoping that Israel can eliminate Hamas as a power.  There is still civil war in Mali. We have set free the Taliban’s top generals in a misguided attempt to empty Guantanamo. Victor Davis Hanson adds:

Christians are being exterminated and cleansed from Iraq and Syria. But we seem to think they are equivalent to bible-thumping Texas evangelicals and their killers exotic versions of Che, and so the ethnic cleansing is rarely condemned. If Barack Obama would just close his eyes and envision ISIS, Hamas, or Putin as the Tea Party or Fox News, and then react accordingly, the world would be a safer place. …

The U.S. looks at the current global violence and then looks away, after a call for a “pivot” or a flash card calling for Boko Haram to give back the girls it has enslaved. Our generation’s version of the bad memories of the 1918 Meuse-Argonne Offensive is Iraq and Afghanistan. Like our grandparents of the 1930s, we feel that the dead lost abroad in the most recent wars were not worth it — and so ignore the gathering war clouds on the present horizon, as if ignoring them means they must disappear.

Glance about — Central America, Venezuela, China, Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, Gaza, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Turkey, etc. — and the world outside the West is mostly a nasty place.  The three common denominators in all these catastrophes are the usual demagogic leaders blaming someone else for their people’s own self-inflicted miseries, a comfortable West that shrugs that somehow all these depressing things and mean people will just go away — and a tired global enforcer whose community organizer leader went into retirement and offers “make no mistake about it” warnings between swings on the golf course.




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