American Elephants


Critics Complain About Obama’s Leadership. Does Obama Grasp Why? by The Elephant's Child

Obama ArroganttPresident Obama spoke today at MacDill Air Force Base. But he wanted everybody to know that there would be no boots on the ground. He is still talking about is grand coalition, but he doesn’t mention who is actually in it, and he’s not going to have any boots on the ground. Somebody else can do that. But the American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission.

All his generals and advisors have told him that he cannot succeed with ISIS without having boots on the ground. Isis fighters will shelter among civilians, and use those civilians as shields. It is hard to know what he has in mind, it apparently is a personal political decision. Certainly the last of the anti-war left is part of his base and those who are sure that peace is natural state of mankind in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Obama seldom attends his national security briefings, and seems totally unfamiliar with the realms of strategy and intelligence.

Mr. Obama has a bad habit of telling the enemy just what he will and won’t do, leaving nothing to the imagination. There are no plans for the outcome, no contingency plans for the time when the terrorists merge into the civilian population, nor for when the actual fighters fail to take Fallujah or Tikrit. Then what?

We have heard him speak before on situations like this. He is a more qualified field commander than his generals, a better planner than that bunch in the Pentagon. Or it’s all about politics and only politics matters. His constant emphasis that he will have no troops on the ground seems the ultimate in a warped Bush-hatred

I think Obama thought he was riding to election on the basis of giant waves of Bush hatred. Nancy Pelosi said something dumb today about Democrats never having been as rude and nasty to President Bush as Republicans were to President Obama. When Republicans recovered from raucous laughter, and were able to stop giggling, they thought gratefully of Minority Leader Pelosi and DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz with runaway mouths and little sense — gifts that keep on giving.

The emphatic “no boots on the ground” came along awkwardly with the other announcement that the president was sending 3,000 troops to Africa to fight Ebola. Many found that announcement preposterous. However, the 3,000 number is  heavy on corpsmen, medics, and the experts who can build field hospitals and erect intensive care units.

The situation in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea is dire. Hospitals are overburdened and there are not enough beds, What health system there is is near collapse. The military command center will be in Liberia to support civilian efforts across the region. Personnel from the U.S Public health Service will deploy to the new field hospitals. New isolation units and more than 1,000 beds. More than 2,500 men, women and children have died, and patients are being turned away. People are dying in the streets.

ISIS is to be degraded and disrupted— not defeated, at least not yet. If ever. To put “boots on the ground” Obama would have to admit that he was mistaken, and that he does not do. That would take something over 25,000 boots on the ground. Investors remarked that “Liberals always want to wage war by not admitting war is war.”We’ll see. I’m deeply unimpressed with Obama’s politicized ideology, his complete inability to admit fault of any kind, and his tendency to overrule his best advisers because he knows better.  I’m betting on the White House deputy who said they’d leave this mess for the next administration.



Putin Warns Europe That Winter Is Coming. by The Elephant's Child

Putin in Darkness

“the space between war and peace is not an empty one—but a landscape churning with political, economic, and security competitions that require constant attention.”   Nadia Schadlow

Well, we haven’t been tending to that landscape, and it is telling. “Right after President Obama traveled to Estonia and gave a public address warning Russia not to meddle further in its near-abroad and pronouncing the  U.S.-led Nato coalition’s vow to protect Estonia, and other such countries in the neighborhood, from Russian aggression. Putin has gotten quite creative in his demonstrations of contempt for Obama.”

Putin has watched Obama offer mostly empty words, self-contradictions, and confused backtracking on foreign policy and decided that Obama is not someone to fear or respect. Putin is not alone in this assessment of Obama. He’s just the only leader currently using Obama’s weakness and indecision as an excuse to invade Europe.

Russian officers abducted Estonian security official Eston Kohver, and tossed him in a Russian Jail, accusing him of spying for Estonia and running afoul of Russian gun-possession laws. They took him to Moscow and paraded him in front of television cameras.

The New York Times is reporting that Russia is in talks with Iran to help Iran get around sanctions intended to curb its nuclear program. The Polish government has said that Russia’s state gas company, Gazprom, has been cutting supplies to Poland by at least twenty percent.

The NATO summit approved the creation of a rapid-response force to counter Russian aggression in NATO countries — and suggested headquartering it in Poland. Putin looked to prove Obama’s promises to Estonia to be empty, he apparently plans to show that promises to Poland are equally empty, even if Poland is a NATO ally.

Seth Mandel says that Russia is “unlikely to just cut energy supplies to a whole swath of Europe. Moscow needs the revenue and the influence the revenue buys.” On the other hand, “Putin in not above reminding his neighbors that Obama has not proved himself willing to defend them, and they ought not bite the hand that feeds, especially if there’s no alternative.”



Early Snow. Colder Winter? Looming Power Shortages. by The Elephant's Child

mt-rushmore-snow

Los Angeles is sweltering under 100º+ temperatures, but in other parts of the country they are having a very early winter. Temperatures are forecast to dip into the 50°s from Boston and New York City to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Some areas in northern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and northwestern New England will see temperatures in the 30ºs. An inch of snow at Rapid City on the 12th was the earliest recorded snowfall since 1888.

There has been no global warming for 17 years and nine months.

Obama administration officials intend to sign a “politically binding” agreement to drastically reduce U.S, greenhouse gas emission at the U.N. climate change conference in Paris next year and have a legal strategy to turn any non-binding accord into federal law. Chris Horner, senior fellow and attorney at CEI  says activists are planning to use the sue-and-settle strategy they have used in the past to impose drastic energy restrictions on all Americans. But India, China and Germany have already said they won’t be attending the conference. The major aim of the less developed countries is to force the Western developed countries to pay for the misery inflicted on the poorer world.

Antarctic sea ice extent, September 13, 2014—a new all-time record : 1,121,000 square km., breaking the past record by 48,000 sq. km.

So what’s going on here? Author Greg Easterbrook calls it “collapse anxiety.” He defines it as “a widespread feeling that the prosperity of the United States and the European Union cannot really be enjoyed because the Western lifestyle may crash owing to economic breakdown, environmental damage, resource exhaustion, …or some other imposed calamity.

These are the descendants of English economist Thomas Malthus who forecast a dire future in “An Essay on the Principle of Population” which was published in 1798. He believed the increasing global population would result in starvation for many people as the world would not be able to feed itself. Malthusians are still with us in the persons of Paul Ehrlich and “The Population Bomb,” and Obama’s science advisor John Holdren, who advocate for radical approaches to forestalling catastrophe, including what they call “de-growth.”Nuclear energy is bad, Genetically modified foods are bad. Coal is awful. Oil is bad. Natural gas is bad, and fracking is bad. Renewable energy is good. Organic food is good. Locally grown organic food is better. “¹

The assumption is that we are running out of every essential commodity—food, oil, copper, iron ore. We are sinning against the planet. Directly in the face of the facts —”people are living longer, healthier, freer, more peaceful, lives than in any other time in human history.” Human ingenuity and creativity are triumphing all over the world. The big environmental groups like Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council raise hundreds of millions of dollars every year by scaring people about coming disaster.

Climate science was once a quiet corner of university science departments, but the creation of the IPCC and important meetings on climate held at all the world’s nicest resorts meant departmental growth, fame, more students, and lots and lots of grants. Governments invested mightily in protecting their citizens from the rise of the oceans, and helping the planet to heal. Those who have been riding that gravy train are not likely to give it up gracefully.

But there has been no warming whatsoever in 17 years and nine months.

Last winter the Great Lakes froze over. New England has obediently been on a hell-bent drive to rid itself of any form of “dirty” non-renewable energy, and has been closing down coal-fired plants for the last decade. Last winter when the real record temperatures hit, there wasn’t enough natural gas to go around. The EPA is planning to shut down 300 coal-fired power plantsfor which there is no replacement. Residential electricity prices in New England are up by 11.8%.

We hear about the horrors of a warming world, but cold is far more dangerous. People die from freezing to death. Some scientists are predicting a new “Little Ice Age,” Nobody, and no computer program, can predict the future. We just don’t know.This looks to be a colder winter, and the president, his science advisor and the EPA are still chasing carbon dioxide, though CO² has continued to increase as warming has failed to increase for nearly 18 years.

¹ Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper by Robert Bryce.



It’s Simple. Democrats Do Not Know How to Do Growth. by The Elephant's Child

“A prominent Democratic polling firm has found that voters don’t view reducing income inequality as a top priority. Instead, they want economic growth.”
(emphasis added) WSJ columnist William Galston has the story:

Surveys of 3,000 Americans conducted between January and March of 2014 by the Global Strategy Group found that fully 78% thought that it was important for Congress to promote an agenda of economic growth that would benefit all Americans. Support for policies that help the middle class and bolster equal opportunity for everyone were also highly rated. Strategies to spread wealth more evenly and reduce income inequality received the least support. 53% believe that fostering economic growth is ‘extremely important,’ compared with only 30% who take that view about narrowing income inequality.” (emphasis added)

Well, well, well, well. But I thought that reducing income inequality was the bright shining goal of all Democrats. This is a leftist polling group! The results didn’t receive much attention when they were released in April, nor since. James Freeman suggests that  “the findings would have rudely interrupted the months-long media celebration of Thomas Piketty and his error-filled and widely unread book on income inequality. And the survey data suggest that the core message of President Obama and his political outfit Organizing for Action is off target. From increasing the minimum wage to forgiving federal student loans to mandating more pay for women, the Obama economic message is all about redistributing wealth, not creating it.”

Specifically, Mr. Galston notes that by “a remarkable margin of 64 percentage points (80% to 16%)” voters “opt for a candidate who focuses on more economic growth to one who emphasizes less income inequality.”

Trouble is, there is a deep secret on the Left. Democrats do not know how to create growth. The basic idea behind this version of the Democratic Party is that all good things are done by government, and only by government.  All the stuff that Obama has done to benefit his cronies — the wind farms, the solar arrays, the rejection of the Keystone pipeline extension, the rejection of private enterprise are meant to create growth, but to reward Obama’s bundlers and supporters first. Cast your mind back across the Obama administration’s efforts at progress. Any rapid economic growth there? Anywhere?

Have you not noticed that whenever the subject comes up, Obama starts talking about roads and bridges or infrastructure—apparently with no recognition of the fact that such governmental projects require layers and layers of permissions and plans and approvals and fundraising that would put any such project off for at least five years, probably more with the usual environmental lawsuits. Any jobs involved go only to union workers, but that is by design. Jobs for ordinary people seem not to be involved. Who listens to the people anyhow?

War on Women. ObamaCare. Minimum Wage. Renewable Energy. Building from the Middle Class Out. More Government Job Training. Economic Patriotism.

Their new focus on “economic patriotism” is exactly the problem. They cannot conceive of allowing American companies to escape any taxes by moving, and the only solution is to devise laws to prevent their doing so. I rest my case.



What Was Missing In Obama’s Foreign Policy by The Elephant's Child

From Defense analyst Nadia Schadlow writing at warontherocks.com — via the WSJ’s Notable & Quotable column Sept. 7, 2014:

President Obama’s commitment to reducing America’s reliance on the military instrument of power is well-known. It has been a constant theme of his presidency—from his first presidential campaign through his major speech on foreign policy at West Point earlier this year. It is therefore paradoxical that the administration’s foreign policy outlook and operational style have made use of the military instrument almost unavoidable. By failing to understand that the space between war and peace is not an empty one—but a landscape churning with political, economic, and security competitions that require constant attention—American foreign policy risks being reduced to a reactive and tactical emphasis on the military instrument by default. . . .

The tactical mindset that dominates national security decision-making prioritizes military means over political ends and confuses activity (such as the bombing of enemy positions) with progress. Because the use of military force is not connected to operational plans for subsequent political consolidation, the United States vacates the space between war and peace. And because they cannot match American military power directly, it is in this space—battlegrounds of perception, coercion, mass atrocity—that America’s enemies and adversaries prefer to operate.

“the space between war and peace is not an empty one—but a landscape churning with political, economic, and security competitions that require constant attention.” I love it when someone calls to our attention something seemingly obvious to which we pay little attention, and changes the pattern of our thought.

Excellent website. Add warontherocks to your  choice website list!



Treasury Will Pull Out All The Stops to Enforce Economic Patriotism! by The Elephant's Child

The Treasury Department could act as early as next week to stop companies from moving their headquarters out of the United States for tax purposes. “Economic Patriotism.” Where is these companies’ economic patriotism? Representative Sander Levin, ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax issues warned that “They’re preparing to act and they’ll act as soon they are ready.”

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Levin on Wednesday that he would not necessarily wait for Congress to go home before he would take unilateral action.  Wonder where he learned that trick?

With his brother Senator Carl Levin, (D-MI) Sander Levin has written legislation to” tighten the rules restricting so-called tax inversions, which are tax maneuvers in which U.S. businesses buy a company in a low-tax country to move their headquarters there.”

It’s the Burger King deal with Tim Horton’s Coffee Shops, and the move of their corporate headquarters to Canada, where total tax costs will be 46.4 percent lower, that has driven Democrats to start writing more confiscatory laws immediately. Burger King will continue to pay taxes on business done in the United States.

The Obama administration and Congressional Democrats have raised the alarm over possible consequences to the U.S. tax base.  Republicans  have been suggesting for some time that they should lower or eliminate the corporate tax, because the U.S. corporate tax is not only the highest in the industrial world, but the U.S. also taxes income earned abroad —which no other country does.

There is a long history going back to Martin Van Buren, of administrations that helped an economy to recover from a recession by cutting taxes. Cutting taxes allows companies more confidence in the future, and they are more apt to grow, expand, and hire — creating a better business climate— which in turn grows the economy.  Canada’s corporate tax was 43 percent in 2000, and is 26 percent today, and their economy is booming.

Democrats are fundamentally unable to grasp the idea that cutting taxes could  produce more income and make the economy grow. It simply does not compute. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew trained as a lawyer, but has simply moved through the corridors of government as a bureaucrat in one office or another. He got all huffy about the Burger King move, in a video at Bloomberg, mentioning all the advantages the U.S. provides —roads and bridges (you didn’t build that) and infrastructure!

So far as I can tell only 9 companies have actually done a tax inversion. A number have started to and backed out after being threatened.

Speaker John Boehner and Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch have warned that any Treasury measure that would be effective would likely lie beyond Lew’s authority.



The Boston Marathon Bombing Was Not an Act of Terrorism by The Elephant's Child

Bostonbrm90_600.jpg.cms

As long as we’re talking about the careful parsing of language, according to the Boston Globe,“the Boston Marathon bombing attacks were not an “act of terrorism,” the U.S. Treasury Department has ruled, which conveniently means terrorism insurance claims need not be paid out in full.”

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which created federally backed insurance in cases of damage due to terrorism. Some Boston businesses were among those that bought the insurance.

Those purchases became relevant after the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013. Of the 160 companies located near the marathon’s finish line that submitted insurance claims, just 14 percent had purchased terrorism insurance, Insurance Journal reported.

And of course Major Hassan’s massacre of his fellow service-members is still designated “workplace violence,” without the slightest acknowledgment of reality. But then that simply deprives the wounded of medical care and purple hearts, and the recognition that they were wounded in the line of duty. They probably don’t particularly care about the medal, but the benefits matter.




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