American Elephants


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.



We Need More Communication About Militarization. by The Elephant's Child

Police militarization has worried a lot of people. Some of the vehicles that police departments have acquired are distinctly scary. Most of us whose encounters with the police are limited to exceeding the speed limit can’t imagine being confronted with an officer in full military gear, helmet and assault weapon.

Policing is intended to protect civilians and communities, it is defensive in nature. But there are exceptions, and there are crazy people, and there are riots and armed standoffs. Apparently one of the worst situations is a confrontation with meth-cookers who can be heavily armed and high on drugs.

We want our police to be safe. They apply to do dangerous work, and train in how to deal with bad situations. Domestic disputes can elevate into something truly dangerous to everybody nearby.

The solution, as in most things, is communication. Show the vehicles and the equipment to the public. Kids would love to see an ex-military MRAP (Mine-resistant ambush-protected) vehicle. A community that understands why their department acquired such a vehicle, why the department thinks it necessary, and something about their training and goals.

Panic comes when police show up with unexpected and unnecessary force. Understanding defuses scary situations.

On the other hand, I don’t understand why the Agriculture Department needs a swat team armed with machine guns.



Are You Worried About the Rise of a “Militarized” Police Force? by The Elephant's Child

Congress is coming under pressure to “do something” about the rise of a “militarized” police force in the United States. You have millions of Americans watching the events in Ferguson, Missouri on television, and goodness, the police look really scary.

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The military and some government departments like Homeland Security are making their surplus equipment available to police departments across the country. Much of the material may be brand new, but outdated by newer technology. Some articles suggest that the materials are free, except for shipping, others suggest that it’s for sale, but cheap for struggling police department budgets.

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The Tampa tank does seem somewhat excessive, but then the other two do too. What kind of situation are they preparing for? An ISIS attack here in this country? The bounty available includes weapons, helmets, ammunition. The uniform standards have changed as well. No more friendly police blue, but camouflage, designed for blending into the natural surroundings of the battlefield, but not for city streets. All black seems to have become popular, but it brings with it a history of the SS, and ISIS, and countless movies.

The purpose of an armed military is to be aggressive, ready to attack, dangerous, and scary. The purpose of an armed police force is meant to be protective. They are there to protect the civilian population from the bad guys. For either force — its appearance has an effect on both civilians and adversaries. Bad guys who intend to perform bad actions in a community protected by the armored equipment pictured above will arm themselves accordingly—grenade launchers, mortars, Molotov cocktails—or worse. Does the possession of a vehicle like the one just above guarantee safety from terrorist attacks, and what is the effect in your ordinary everyday riot?

I’m sure there is a temptation towards the all powerful, completely scary and excessively macho version. The cops would feel safer and more powerful Policing is hard work, and policemen are killed in the line of duty. It can be dangerous, and often is. Yet we clearly need some adult judgment here.

The Seattle Police have coped with our occasional riots with bicycle squads and mounted police — fairly successfully. They start mildly, and gradually add force if necessary. If it continues into a second day, they start that with some force. Depends on whether the Anarchists are arriving in force.

Rather than a hasty Congressional intrusion, we probably need studies (which may well already exist) on what causes a riot to escalate. We may have terrorists crossing the border, or more likely using their European passports. The likelihood of their being able to equip themselves with fancy military equipment would seem low, but bombs that involve nothing more than acquiring bomb-making materials or ordinary weapons is highly likely.

Those of us who hear about the activities of the police only in the news, really don’t know much of anything about it. Those of us who are watching the riots in Ferguson as it is filtered through the media don’t know much of anything either. Yet we read of SWAT teams breaking down the door of innocent civilians at 4:00 a.m. because they got the wrong house, or because of misinformation. We have no idea if this is a regular problem or if it is a rare occurrence that we hear about only because “if it bleeds it leads.”

Confidence in government is low. The economy is not recovering noticeably. The world seems completely in flames.  Iraq, Syria, Russia, China, Iran. Ebola in Africa. Uncontrolled illegal immigration is being allowed, if not encouraged at our border.  We have no leadership. Our military is being slashed back to pre-World War II levels. ISIS threatens to raise their black flag over the White House. Everybody is on vacation. But when the weather cools in September and October, we can expect another flood of 60,000 illegals from Central America, because nobody has, nor will, make it clear that they are unwelcome. Other than that…

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ADDENDUM: I added slightly to the piece as first posted, because the bit about the Seattle Police suggested they didn’t go beyond mounted police, which was inaccurate. 



Cease-Fires Don’t Work When One Side Won’t Cease! by The Elephant's Child

From Friday’s Wall Street Journal :

JERUSALEM—White House and State Department officials who were leading U.S. efforts to rein in Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip were caught off guard last month when they learned that the Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval.

Since then the Obama administration has tightened its control on arms transfers to Israel. But Israeli and U.S. officials say that the adroit bureaucratic maneuvering made it plain how little influence the White House and State Department have with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu —and that both sides know it.

Funny. This is the customary way that Israel secured supplies of ammunition through a military to military purchase that required no approval from White House officials.

If people in Pennsylvania were shooting rockets at the White House many times a day leaving everyone to run for shelter immediately, would the administration be so eagerly pressing for a “cease-fire” that everyone knew those crazies in Pennsylvania would not observe? And if they were digging attack tunnels designed to come up in the Rose Garden, or down by Michelle’s veggie garden?

The U.S. government classifies Hamas as “a terrorist organization.” Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry just don’t seem to understand terrorism. “No victor-no vanquished.” let’s have another cease-fire. Hamas’ charter clearly says they intend to destroy Israel and all its people. Israel has the backing of Egypt, and Jordan and even the West Bank for attempting to stop the rocket attacks. Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry just don’t seem to get it. But I repeat myself.

There are cease-fires, and Hamas breaks them. They fire rockets from their storehouses in UN schools, and the administration is shocked by the pretend numbers of casualties claimed by Hamas, and assumes them to be real.  President Obama   doesn’t like disagreement, and has proved to be somewhat vindictive.

Prime Minister Netanyahu explained the situation with Hamas quite clearly, in language easily understandable:

The difference between us is simple.
We develop defensive systems in order
to protect our civilians, and they
use their civilians to protect their missiles.



The Words We Use Matter — It’s a Very Big Deal! by The Elephant's Child

[S]kill in language does provide a better hope of survival; it even wins wars, for struggle on the field of battle is a dramatic version of strife in the minds of men. Long before the first trigger was pulled, Hitler fired off a shattering salvo of words. He pounded his fist and shouted: Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer!” Don’t make the mistake of thinking that his listeners muttered back an uncertain “Ach so, gewiss, gewiss.” They shouted back, Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer!”

The cannonade roared across the Channel and shook the cliffs of England. Fortunately for us all, England, although unarmed, was not unready. The answering barrage rings in our ears still: “Blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” Battle was joined. Hitler’s words sent the Wehrmacht crashing to the outskirts of Dunkirk, but Churchill’s words sent schoolboys and accountants and retired fishmongers down to the sea in their little boats and over the water to the beaches of Dunkirk.

While that may be an incomplete account of the war, it is not an inaccurate one. It was a war of words and speaking just as much as a war of iron and blood. If the fighting was sometimes stupid and vicious, it was because certain other words were in the minds of men. Whatever else Churchill may have been doing in those days, he was always providing the English with words. With words he formed their thoughts and emotion. “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills,” said Churchill. Millions answered, apparently, “By God, so we shall.”

That’s an excerpt from Less Than Words Can Say, by the late Richard Mitchell, the Underground Grammarian, a book I have recommended to everyone I know who has an interest in language. I am passionate about the book;  I don’t know that I’ve ever run into anyone else who is, but I keep trying. There are three more books in his explorations of language. I quote it to emphasize that the way something is said — makes a difference.

We can talk and talk, but suddenly someone puts a thought into words that resonate with you and your understanding changes permanently. The words of Scott Johnson’s “worldly-wise man” in my earlier post really resonated with me, and explained the extent to which members of the left live in a bubble of their own construct, that controls their thought and their actions.

Words from those of us on the right do not penetrate, except to be thought stupid or irrational. Our complaints do not register at all. Obama lives behind an impenetrable wall — from behind which he can shoot moral arrows to demonstrate his superiority and destroy any emerging criticism.

The Left understands the importance of language. That’s why they keep changing names, like changing “liberal” (unpopular) to “progressive,” and devising slogans and talking-points that become required for liberal speech.

“Global warming” (now “climate change”) is an excellent example. There is unassailable proof from observation in the real world that there is a seventeen year old pause in warming due to the sun going quiet. No sunspots. The computer models used by the IPCC put in what is known about climate (not very much) add some intelligent guesses, and some pure fantasy, assume that to be an accurate picture of the climate — that can predict the future up to 50 and 100 years in the future, and accept the whole damn thing as gospel truth. Anyone who disagrees is to be fired, prevented from publishing, run out of the scientific community, and thoroughly disgraced — because they rely on real observation of the real world — and have the nerve to question the given word of the left. That’s the Leftist bubble.

Government grants, regulations, fines, career success, and everything from the disappearance of cheap, efficient incandescent lightbulbs, to recycling, reliance on expensive, inefficient solar and wind energy, that can never provide a significant amount of energy, electric cars, and the current attempt to make coal-fired power plants all shut down on January 1,which will overload the power grid and freeze people to death in what is predicted to be a colder, harsher winter than last year.

This president is operating from within the leftist bubble, and he is not interested in dissent or disagreement which are to him simply stupid enemy attacks. He has no need to listen — because he is right. “Hope and Change” doesn’t cut it anymore.



Skip All The Extraneous Matters: Let’s Talk Basics! by The Elephant's Child

Can we get back to basics here for a moment? The president is deciding about what executive action he can take to solve our “broken immigration system.” Preferably while Congress is on vacation.

Our immigration system is “broken” for one specific reason. The president has not only refused to enforce our immigration laws, but specifically ordered the agencies involved not to enforce the laws.

There has been a huge influx of “unaccompanied children” (who are mostly not children according to reports) specifically because word has circulated in Central America that if kids, or kids and their parent, can get to the border they can get in and be cared for free. There are adults who are posing as children.

Border Patrol agents have been pulled away from the border to “process” the “children,” leaving the border wide open, and illegals from all over the world are crossing the border and disappearing into the population.

This flow of illegal immigrants cannot be halted nor controlled by amnesty, nor “processing,” nor by ignoring the problem. Planeloads are being shipped all over the country, even to Alaska, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. 30,340 have been released to foster homes around the country as of July 7. Some 30 thousand, or more will attend US public schools this fall. The Obama administration has made it clear that all public schools have an obligation to enroll students regardless of immigration status and without discrimination.

The only way the influx can be stopped is by shipping the illegal aliens back to their own countries, promptly, and making it clear there is no amnesty. When it is clear that the border is closed and illegals will be immediately exported, the massive influx will stop.



But That Was Then, This is Now. by The Elephant's Child

Barack Obama on “Change” in Grand Junction, Colorado, May 20, 2008. If politicians actually kept up with technology, and learned about You Tube and Smart Phones and human memory, they might have to speak truthfully, and tell us when they changed their minds and why.

Could a society die if politicians had to be honest and straightforward? Sounds like a good science fiction story there!



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

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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.



Pay No Attention to World Crisis, Let’s Attack American Business by The Elephant's Child

Well, the world is aflame, nothing is going well, and President Obama in his weekly address takes on American international corporations who have moved their headquarters overseas. And he proves once again that he does not understand business or the free market at all.

Hi, everybody. Our businesses have now added nearly 10 million new jobs over the past 52 months. The unemployment rate is at its lowest point since September 2008 – the fastest one-year drop in nearly 30 years.  401(k)s are growing, fewer homes are underwater, and for the first time in more than a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that the world’s number one place to invest isn’t China; it’s the United States of America – and our lead is growing.

None of this is an accident.  It’s thanks to the resilience and resolve of the American people that our country has recovered faster and come farther than almost any other advanced nation on Earth.

But all those jobs that ave been added— are mostly part-time jobs, because the incentives in ObamaCare made it advisable for businesses to cut their low wage workers back to less than 30 hours a week. They now need to fill the other half of those jobs with more part-time workers. Nobody profits from that. We still have something like 92 million working-age people who have given up looking for work. Obama, in attempting to demonize American international corporations as “un-American” and “not patriotic,” and as “renouncing their citizenship”, demonstrates nothing so much as that he has no understanding of business and how businesses operate nor of the free market.

The slowest recovery from any downturn in history is not due to the resilience and resolve of the American people. Our country has not recovered. Business does not exist to be patriotic, or because everyone loves going to work, but it exists to make a profit. Profit is not a bad word as some lefties think, but a return on investment. If a business cannot turn a profit, they won’t be in business for long. President Obama has been warned over and over that we have the highest corporate taxes in the world, and he needs to lower them to avoid what is happening right now. Obama loves to talk about “fair share,” but no one is obligated to pay more taxes than they have to. I can promise you that Mr. Obama’s accountant takes every possible deduction to which the president is entitled, as do the crony capitalists he hits up for campaign donations.  You have noticed that when he takes a trip to the West Coast for a round of fundraisers and golf, he usually sticks in a speech at some college so the trip is not a campaign expense— but an expense for the taxpayers.

“But when some companies cherrypick their taxes, it damages the country’s finances. It adds to the deficit. It makes it harder to invest in the things that will keep America strong, and it sticks you with the tab for what they stash offshore. Right now, a loophole in our tax laws makes this totally legal —and I think that’s totally wrong. You don’t get to pick which rules you play be, or which tax rate you pay, and neither should these companies.” Oh please.  Mr. I can’t possibly cut anything out of the budget, nor cut back on my vastly overblown expenses. We have to pretend that if a company legally lowers the taxes they have to pay, since it is legal, it is unpatriotic?  That kind of pandering should be beneath you.

I am really sick of this “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” rhetoric. Is there some way we could make it a requirement that anyone running for the office of president has to have taken at least 3 courses in economics?”

If you want an economy that functions and grows, you have to make it reasonably easy for business to grow and hire and create opportunity. Growth and opportunity are not created by government, but by the free market.



American Industry Speaks Out: The Clean Power Plan Is Not Workable! by The Elephant's Child

American industry has a message for the Environmental Protection Agency: your new plan for climate regulation is “not workable.”

The Partnership for a Better Energy Future, which represents 140 organizations, sent a letter to EPA chief Gina McCarthy Monday night calling on her to extend the public comment period for the new rules, make drastic changes to the proposal and hold more public hearings across the U.S.

“We are all going to tell the EPA that this regulation is simply not workable,” Jay Timmons, CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), said on a call with reporters Tuesday to promote the industry push against the rules.

The EPA said it will hold four public hearings across the country on its proposal which mandates that by 2030 states cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels.

Not enough! according to Timmons, the CEOs of the Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute, the National Mining Association, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and more groups as well.

“There is obviously going to be legal action in the future,” Timmons said. “We would like to see the rule altered and see the agency stop and listen to constituents and consumers that will be most impacted.”

“But assuming all things stay as they are, then we’ll see some action in the courts,” he added.

Liz Purchia, EPA spokeswoman, said the agency “is pleased by the tremendous public interest in the proposed Clean Power Plan” and it plans to respond to the letter from the Partnership for a Better Energy Future.  I suspect that the response cannot be characterized as “tremendous public interest,” but a bit more negatively.

“Already, we have received nearly 300,000 comments on the proposal. In the first 25 business days following the proposal, we have met with 60 groups and we are continuing our outreach through the 120-day comment period,” Purchia said.

Administrator Gina McCarthy expressed confidence that the rules are legally sound. Maybe so, but the science they are depending on is completely phony. CO² is not a pollutant, is not the cause of global warming, there has been no warming for over 17 years, and if they want to eliminate CO² they will eliminate life itself. Carbon is one of the building blocks of life. Next they will want to regulate the CO² we exhale with each breath. Come to think of it, there’s a Henry Payne cartoon on just that:

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