American Elephants


There’s a Reason Why Obama Has No Strategy by The Elephant's Child

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This new poll from the Pew Research Center is interesting. I guess you could sum it up by saying that Republicans are bigger worriers than Democrats — or possibly that Democrats are clueless about what is going on in the world. I wonder where Obama would rank on this survey?

We have a broad array of strategies, which the Pentagon produces, ready for any exigency. This is not a time when we should be cutting our military to the bone. I think every person on the right, seeing that long column of ISIS thugs with their flags and guns, wondered where the A-10s were. Designed for just such an occasion, they are old and retired by Obama. I suspect the reason for cutting the military so drastically is more about punishing Republicans who do care about the services and military preparedness, than about a serious look at our real needs.

Republicans, I believe, are far more accepting of human nature and its flaws, and recognize ever-present evil when it breaks out once again. They know we will make mistakes, but accept that in the effort, and will try to do better next time.

Democrats have no real understanding of human nature at all, and assume that it can be fixed by wise people in government with the right mixture of regulations and laws. They used to believe in a Utopian future, but at present they don’t get much beyond the battle to be in control. Once they are running everything, it will take some time to get everybody in line, but once that is accomplished they can work on the glorious future, which they haven’t figured out yet.

There is no limit to the effort, money, legal challenges, fraud and lies they will expend in the effort to win — to be in control. See the feverish attempts to destroy potential Republican candidates like Rick Perry and Scott Walker with bizarre lawsuits that might tie them up in court, and provide useful material for future opposition commercials. Leave no stone unturned.

There is a lot of information (and speculation) in this survey. I’d like to see more on the differences between the parties, which is greater than I have ever known it to be.  The Left has shifted far to the left. Leftists claim that Republicans have shifted to the right, but they are trying to demonize Tea Party members as raving, drooling extremists instead of your next-door neighbors who have, as a result of — oh, the stimulus, the growth of government, ObamaCare and a couple hundred other extra-legal  moves by the Obama administration become interested in and concerned about politics for the first time in their lives.



The Feds Are Going to Track “Hate Speech” on Twitter! by The Elephant's Child

Just when the news is full of the depredations of the newly-named Islamic State, we learn that our government is creating a database to track “hate speech” on Twitter. The feds will spend nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and “hate speech” on Twitter.

Watch what you are tweeting, folks. The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” (of course it would be “memes,” not words or ideas)  and what it considers “false and misleading ideas” with a major focus on political activity online. Sorry, free speech is out. Old fashioned nonsense! What we need is control. No unpleasant words allowed. And don’t go ‘denying’ Global Warming!

The university has so far received $919,917 for the project.

“The project stands to benefit both the research community and the public significantly,” the grant states. “Our data will be made available via [application programming interfaces] APIs and include information on meme propagation networks, statistical data, and relevant user and content features.”

“The open-source platform we develop will be made publicly available and will be extensible to ever more research areas as a greater preponderance of human activities are replicated online,” it continues. “Additionally, we will create a web service open to the public for monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”

They are calling it “Truthy” a name from Stephen Colbert. It will attempt to catalog how information is spread (and how to shut it down?). They claim to be completely non-partisan, but suggest that some tweets are engineered by “the shady machinery of high-profile congressional campaigns” according to the website.

“Truthy” claims to be non-partisan. However, the project’s lead investigator Filippo Menczer proclaims his support for numerous progressive advocacy groups, including President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action, Moveon.org, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, and True Majority.

Filippo Menczer is a professor of informatics  and computer science at Indiana University. You can tell that the project is completely non-partisan because it would never even occur to any Republican or Conservative to attempt to trace “hate speech” on Twitter. Republicans don’t even believe there is such a thing as “hate speech”, which presumes to read the mind and intent of the speaker, something quite impossible.

Republicans believe in free speech which is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech,” and that even includes political speech, which would suggest that this effort is out of line. The response to nasty speech, which can be distinguished from “hate speech” is Shame.

The government-funded researchers hope the public will use their tool to squeal on other tweeters. They want to know why some “memes” go viral and others don’t. I don’t think it takes $1 million to answer that one.

I find it absolutely astonishing the extent to which Democrats are frightened by those who disagree with them, and struggle to find ways to silence them. But I have a pretty good idea of just why they do it.



Lois Lerner’s Missing Emails Exist After All ! by The Elephant's Child

Judicial Watch announced today that the lawyers at the Department of Justice are now saying that all federal government emails are backed up, along with other data, in case of a government-wide catastrophe.  This means the “missing,” “destroyed” emails of Lois Lerner and other IRS employees are backed up and can be recovered. That goes for the emails of all those other agencies that suffered from a rash of “hard-drive crashes,” are there, just like the tech experts claimed.

The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search. The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system.

Judicial Watch is not about to let that “too onerous” claim get by. The focus on hard drive crashes has been a diversion. The Obama administration has known all along what the rules are about preserving email records, but has withheld that information in the hopes no one would notice.

I’m torn between Emily Litella’s “nevermind” and Shakespeare’s “The truth will out.”

In Chicago politics, truth can be buried for years, but then somebody goes too far and governors and mayors are sent off to serve some time. This administration seems to believe that bringing Chicago-style politics to our nation’s capitol is perfectly normal.

There have been hints of this backup system, but nothing definite. If it is truly government wide than huge numbers of people must be aware of it. The wheels of justice will grind slowly along. A suit from Judicial Watch, and a demand for a wide range of documents under a Freedom of Information Act request, and a couple of honest judges have created a victory for public accountability.



Foreign Policy is Hard. A Crumbling Worldview. by The Elephant's Child

In today’s press briefing, deputy press secretary Eric Schultz was asked why the administration was unwilling to negotiate with terrorists in the case of journalist James Foley, yet in the case of Bowe Bergdahl  he was willing to release five important Taliban leaders from Guantanamo.

“I think, again, what the president made clear at the time of the Guantanamo transfer was that his commitment to the men and women that serve overseas is a bedrock one, that we will leave no man or woman behind. That’s what he was keeping faith with, and that’s something that’s unshakeable for him,” Schultz said.

“As we’ve made previously clear, the administration determined that it was lawful to proceed with a transfer in order to protect the life of a U.S. servicemember held captive and in danger for almost five years, notwithstanding that Congress did not receive the 30 days’ notice. Again, we disagree with GAO’s conclusion and we reject the implication that the administration acted unlawfully.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes earlier called the beheading of James Foley a” terrorist attack.”

The fact of the matter is, we’ve actually seen, you know, ISIL seek to advance too close to our facilities, certainly for our own comfort. And so the president’s decision to take military action a number of weeks ago was out of direct concern that if they were able to get into Erbil, that they could pose a threat to our personnel and our consulate there. So, we have seen them posing a threat to our interests in the region, to our personnel and facilities in the region, and clearly, the brutal execution of Jim Foley represented an affront, an attack, not just on him, but he’s an American and we see that as an attack on our country when one of our own is killed like that.”

Can’t let accusations that the president possibly didn’t do enough to try to get Foley back. Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism said that it attempted to rescue the American citizens held by ISIS last summer. Se added that they could not reveal details of the operation. Then more administration spokesmen kept revealing more details. The Pentagon had a statement, Marie Harf, embarrassing State Department spokesperson, had a statement. I don’t know who else had a statement, but we have learned way too many details. We really didn’t need to reveal any details of a failed operation, supposedly based on bad intel.

Except the president’s advisers are quite determined that everybody should know that he did too care, and he ordered an operation, and it’s not his fault if r else screwed up. The misunderstanding is that the most important thing at this time when the president is relaxing on vacation, is to know that he’s completely on top of everything. No it’s not, and he isn’t.

What we must remember about ISIS, or any of the terrorist organizations, is that they advance by causing terror. The more they can scare every observer, the more people will do their bidding. They want to do the awfulest, most horrifying thing ever seen — to impress upon the rest of the world that — resistance is futile.

The president’s worldview is crumbling under the assault of events. He was convinced that getting us out of Iraq completely, closing Guantanamo, and getting us out of Afghanistan would make him an historic figure. Giving everyone medical insurance, and moving the nation away from dreaded fossil fuels and into safe, natural energy from the wind and the sun would be transformative. He would be the strongest  possible contrast with the hated George W. Bush. But the world is isn’t as simple as he presumed.

If he was elected to get us out of Iraq, he is now faced with getting us back in. Drone strikes and air strikes may not be enough, yet he is unable to admit error. What next?



The Obama Administration Violated the Law By Releasing Gitmo Detainees in Exchange for Bowe Bergdahl. by The Elephant's Child

From Powerline:

The Government Accounting Office has concluded that the Obama Defense Department violated section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act when it transferred five detainee at Guantanamo Bay to Qatar without providing at least 30 days notice to certain congressional committees. Section 8111 prohibits the Defense Department from using appropriated funds to transfer any individuals detained at Gitmo unless the Secretary of Defense provides such notification.

The GAO also found that by using its appropriations in a manner specifically prohibited by law, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act, as well.

These five individuals were considered to be the equivalent of “Top Brass” for the Taliban, and were transferred to Qatar, a government that is a major supporter of terrorist groups. It is a major backer of Hamas.

The prisoner transfer was part of the deal in which the Taliban released Bowe Bergdahl in another example of Obama’s disregard for the law, and common sense.

Obama has been intent on trying to empty Guantanamo Bay of any detainees, apparently under the assumption that the world hated us because we had detainees at Gitmo. Early detainees were pictured shackled, in orange jumpsuits behind a guarded fence, which naturally convinced the Left that the poor innocent detainees were being tortured by the hated George W. Bush. The detainees were better treated that their military guards, and most gained about 20 lbs. on generous halal food, which can certainly be called torture in a weight-conscious world.



What Is The Impulse To Go Join A Riot? by The Elephant's Child
August 20, 2014, 7:05 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Law, News, Politics, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

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I understand why journalists flock to a town like Ferguson, Missouri. There’s a famous old saying “If it bleeds it leads,” and even more if there is the possibility of interesting interviews and especially good photographs or videos. But why do ordinary people flock to a riot?

Fox News correspondent Steve Harrigan reported from Ferguson that seventy-eight protesters were arrested during last night’s clash between the police and the protesters. Only three of those arrested were actually from the town of Ferguson. A lot came from the state of Missouri, but some came from as far away as New York and California. There were some concerns that rioters were using the demonstrations as a cover to launch attacks against police.

I understand the people who are there, those who feel personally harmed demonstrating and the demonstration turning to riot. Unfortunate, but it happens.

I don’t get it. What is the impulse that sends someone from some distance away to go and join in a riot? Is it the possibility of looting?  The possibility of attacking the police? It is surely obvious that you can get hurt at a riot, at best. Do they just think it will be fun?

Al Jazeera reports that the Islamic State has recruited 6,000 people in the last month, and the recruitment push is gathering pace. They claim the number of fighters is now over 80,000 in Iraq and Syria (totally unverified numbers). Let’s all go kill infidels. Behead infidels, execute those who have different beliefs. Is this the same impulse? Drawn to danger and chaos?

Is it a matter of getting all emotional, all fired-up, indignant over what you have heard? When we had the WTO riots here in Seattle, lots of broken windows, trash cans set on fire, and groups of anarchists appeared from somewhere else to join in the fun. People uninvolved in the Occupy movement rushed to join in the fun at their various riots.

I would understand defending your home or your community from an outside threat, but I don’t get rushing to join a riot, or even a demonstration in which you have no personal involvement. People also rush to go see a catastrophe. Stop on the highway to see the accident (when it’s clear they don’t need help, but just want to see).

We should be instructing our children when they are young, never to go to a riot. Riots are not always peaceful, and sometimes people get killed.



A Little Common Sense by The Elephant's Child

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley: ” Let’s not pretend”our morgues are full of black men because of cops.




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