American Elephants


Sorry! Your Politician Does Not Care About You. by The Elephant's Child

The exit polling from the 2012 election showed clearly that people voted for Barack Obama because they believed that “He cares about people like me.” This was closely related to Hurricane Sandy, and I believe the picture of President Obama comforting Donna Vanzant who had just seen her marina totally destroyed, influenced a lot of people. Mr. Obama promised her prompt help from FEMA and that he would make it all better. But she never heard from FEMA, nor from the President, or anybody else.
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The picture, however, went viral.

I hate to bring you bad news, but politicians do not care about you. The better ones care about “the people” in general, but generous donors in particular. They care about the big businesses in their districts, influential people in their party and in the opposition, but we ordinary folk are, at best, merely a statistic. They care about those who are important for some reason, particularly those who have given campaign contributions or are clearly in a position to make a donation, or are important enough to influence others.

Maybe, if you are an activist who seems to have a large number of voters behind you. I know, I know. We’d all like to believe that those in whom we invest so much hope really mean it. You could design an embossed letterhead suggesting that you are an officer in an organization for (or against) your politician’s favorite issues, that might get some attention. Phone calls, at least allow you to talk to a human, however lowly. Visit his/her office in your district with your request or complaint, but sugar catches more flies than vinegar.

It’s nothing personal. They have their big donors and all the members of their delegation, the press (local and national) the members of the committees on which they serve, their opposition, and all the members of the House or the Senate as the case may be to worry about. They don’t know you from Adam, expecting attention is futile. The idea that “I voted for you” and now I expect, at the least, a response to my email, is also futile. Going to every town hall meeting held in your district might improve the situation slightly, but don’t bet on it. They shake a lot of hands, and remember few.

But, your opinions may be tabulated (or not). They need feedback, but there’s no guarantee they will pay attention. But if  you are well-informed and your call or email or letter is short and to the point, it may get through. Even volunteering in their campaign may not help. Your chances are better if your expectations are low, and your determination is very high.



Domestic Violent Extremists? Homeland Security Paranoia. by The Elephant's Child

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A leaked document from Homeland Security predicts the rise of “anti-Government violence. That was a headline that caused a brief flurry in the press (very brief). Notable in the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis concern over an increase in violence, was the standoff at the Bundy ranch when the BLM attempted to seize Bundy’s cattle, but backed off when a ‘militia group’ showed up.

The seven page report, titled, “Domestic Violent Extremists Pose Increased Threat to Government Law Enforcement” dated, July 22, 2014, said, “After years of only sporadic violence from violent domestic extremists motivated by anti-government ideologies, I&A has seen a spike within the past year in violence committed by militia extremists and lone offenders who hold violent anti-government beliefs. These groups and individuals recognize government authority but facilitate or engage in acts of violence due to their perception that the United States Government is tyrannical and oppressive, coupled to their belief that the government needs to be violently resisted or overthrown.”

I have written recently about the impermeable “bubble” in which the Left resides. They require protection from the wrong information emanating from the Right, at all costs. As far as I can tell, this is caused by the fact that their policies are a result of their feelings about events on a case-by-case basis. They do not rely on foundational principles.

There was a point a while back when they worried because Republicans had think tanks to give them ideas, and they didn’t. So they got their money people to start one — the Center for American Progress — because they’re progressives now, not liberals, or leftists.  (I keep forgetting). But nothing much changes. The CAP comes up with ‘Issues’ with which to defeat the Right like ‘the War on Women’ and ‘free contraceptives,’ and the language and tactics to make a war on women seem real, but not the principles that make it an important issue.

In the hothouse of such a bubble, there exists a constant element of paranoia. If you know your argument is flimsy and has no principles behind it, you expect it to be shot down, or attempted to be shot down. With that nagging fear comes a fear of the Right in general. You never know what they might try next. When your history is invented, and you have no firm, unchanging, bedrock principles — when your opposition, who you are convinced are both radical and stupid, starts holding demonstrations and carrying signs and waving a  yellow flag with a rattlesnake on it, and talking about the revolution, you get all nervous.

They know who the protesters are. They send them out. They are union activists demanding a higher wage,  and people from the radical green groups trying to save us from the ravages of global warming, and the folks from La Raza demanding amnesty now. But these people are dangerous. Who ever heard of Republicans demonstrating. Singing. Carrying American flags. And their signs are about the Constitution, or demanding repeal of the law that gives everyone free health care. Violent extremists.

This is not new. If you want to get into a major battle with a lib, just say something about the evils of socialism and how similar Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia were. You might get away with calling Stalin and communism an aberration of the Left, but they will be absolutely certain that Hitler was a right-wing dictator, despite the fact that NAZI was an acronym for National Socialist Party.

They were certain that Kennedy was shot by a right-wing nut, that Timothy McVeigh was a member of a Right-Wing militia, that the Branch-Davidian standoff was a right-wing something or other. They have convinced themselves that the Dixiecrats were really racist Republicans, and some have actually gone so far as to believe that Lincoln was really a Democrat. The bubble has tough walls and is quite impermeable.

The Left is positive that any objection to the policies of the Obama administration is racism. There are beginning to be some cracks in that edifice. The media is noticing that their president is not really engaged by foreign policy, and would clearly rather spend his time on the golf course. His third-string advisers are not up to the job. John Kerry’s insistence that climate change is a more pressing concern than Hamas, Gaza, ISIS, the Kurds, Putin’s advances on Ukraine, China’s flexing of its muscles, Iraq’s centrifuges, is not evidence of a serious administration.

This all blends into the militarization of the police, the drive to ban guns. A California congressman has just introduced a bill to prevent the purchase, ownership or possession of enhanced body armor by civilians. (HR. 5344). “This bill will keep military body armor out of the wrong hands, Representative Honda said, “It would ensure than only law enforcement, firefighters and first responders wold be able to access enhanced body armor.” Now that’s paranoia.

 



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.



Can Obama Escape the Bubble? Probably Not! by The Elephant's Child

I have, in odd moments, been pondering Obama’s statement of his foreign policy— “no victor–no vanquished.” Where did he get the idea that was a workable or satisfactory policy? He clearly was proud of the alliteration. Conservatives were confused  by the statement.

But then I recalled the leftist movement to stop the practice of having winners in games, as part of the”self-esteem movement.” There should be no winners and losers they said— everybody gets a trophy, everybody gets a medal. Prizes were for participation. Wrecked all kinds of contests and games, and most of the fun. Not much satisfaction in competition when even the worst performers get the same medal.

That was, of course, mostly in elementary school, and given time, the self-esteem movement fell into disrepute when people realized that our kids had the greatest self-esteem in the world, but we were being beaten all hollow in things like math and science, reading and history. But it didn’t go away for everyone. The Left accepted it as a given, and decided that competition was a bad thing.

On the Right, Ted Forstman once remarked in the Wall Street Journal that “There has never been an industry, a business, or a product that competition has not improved.” For most Republicans, a completely unremarkable statement. Of course. Most of our economic ideas are based on just that idea. But Mr. Obama clearly does not get it. “No Victor, No Vanquished.” Everybody gets a prize. No winner, no loser. Nobody has to feel bad. Well, here is Ralph Peters:

Wars are to be won. They are not playing fields for theorists. Enemies are to be destroyed, not merely admonished. And the best chance to destroy a military enemy is to pursue him relentlessly and ferociously when his organization begins to come apart. From Varus’s Roman legions in the marshes of Germany through Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow to the destruction of, first entire Soviet armies, then entire German ones on World War II’s Eastern Front, down to the Highway of Death leading north from Kuwait City, mighty armies—or those perceived as such—have been destroyed utterly when their fronts collapsed and they struggled to save themselves by fleeing. This is a killing hour and we must rise to it.

And Victor Davis Hanson:

It is an iron law of war that overwhelming military superiority, coupled with promises to the defeated of resurrection, defeats terrorists—in the past, now, always—whether they be zealots, dervishes, or Ghost dancers. We do not really care whether bin Laden and his thugs are real Islamic fundamentalists, old-time Mahdists, or Christian nuts in drag. Nor does it ultimately matter much whether they plan to poison water, hijack airplanes, spread germs, or throw spitballs at us—only whether we have the military power and will to kill them first, destroy their enclaves, strip away their money and refuges, and demonstrate to their followers that death and misery are the final and only wages of a terrorist’s life.

The Left lives in an impermeable bubble. Leftist thought is contained within the bubble. They can shoot moral arrows at everyone else to demonstrate their moral superiority. Within the bubble they can reinvent history to make it more agreeable to present circumstances, whatever they may be. Unpleasant matters do not penetrate, or at least can be repelled.

The current situation in Iraq has required significant adjustment. Iraq was the “dumb war.” Obama believed the public was “war weary” because the media told him so, so he was impatient to get out and had little interest in a “status of forces” agreement, nor in how such agreements came about. It was a trophy in his trophy display. (Consistency is not required)

So when ISIS swept out into Iraq, nobody in the White House paid any attention, because Iraq was a done deal. When executions and beheadings penetrated the news, it was presumed that getting rid of the troublesome Maliki and forcing a more “inclusive” government would make everybody feel good and a “negotiated settlement” would prevail. But then Islamic State terrorists slaughtered 900 Yazidis in Erbil in an act of genocide. Obama had to act, and he danced around it trying to make sure that everyone understood that our military intervention was not really a military intervention and there were no boots on the ground, and we weren’t going to do boots on the ground.

Bubbles are artificial constructions that don’t stand up in the real world.



“They’re Coming” and “Another 9/11 is Imminent” by The Elephant's Child

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An editorial from the Washington Post last Friday was headlined “Obama’s authorization of Iraq airstrikes isn’t connected to a coherent strategy.”

PRESIDENT OBAMA was right to order military action to prevent a potential genocide in northern Iraq and to stop forces of the al-Qaeda-derived Islamic State from advancing on Baghdad or the Kurdish capital of Irbil. However, the steps the president authorized on Thursday amount to more of his administration’s half-measures, narrowly tailored to this week’s emergency and unconnected to any coherent strategy to address the conflagration spreading across the Middle East. …

Yet by the White House’s own account, the measures ordered by Mr. Obama are not intended to defeat the Islamic State or even to stop its bloody advances in most of the region. Instead they are limited to protecting two cities where U.S. personnel are stationed and one mass of refugees. The hundreds of thousands of people in Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere threatened by the al-Qaeda forces will receive no U.S. protection.

That’s the Washington Post’s Editorial Board, not usually leading the charge in criticism of the president.

President Obama is trapped in his self-created bubble. He was elected, he believes, to end the war in Iraq, and sees doing so as possibly his greatest achievement. He regarded getting out as the goal, rather than a gradual turnover as Iraq became more able to deal with problems on their own. Even now, he doesn’t understand that there is a genocide in progress, that is endowed with billions stolen from all the banks in Iraq, the world’s best and most modern weapons which which we outfitted the Iraqis, and gullible jihadis are flocking from all over the world to join up in the bloodletting.

Europe assumed that it was a good idea to replace their declining birthrate by admitting immigrants, for they had seen how immigration enriched America. But they didn’t get the assimilation part. They got a lot of Islamist immigrants, but they didn’t turn them into real citizens. It looks like over 900 French nationals have answered to call to jihad in Iraq, and volunteers in significant numbers are coming from Britain and most European countries. Even young women are flocking to become ‘jihadi wives,’ unaware they will end up as sex-slaves and either dead or in the brothels of the Middle East.

I cannot imagine what visions of “the Caliphate” attract them— the opportunity to kill with abandon, long trains of battle-hardened jihadis bristling with guns and tanks, flying the black flag of the Islamic State? Is it an ideal of suddenly being powerful? Too many romantic movies?

We see the primitive blood-lust, the sheer barbarianism and fail to take it seriously at our peril. The Middle East is more unstable today than it has been in years. Global energy supplies are at risk and with that, the entire world economy. The Islamic State seizes vast swaths of land and resources, murders and terrorizes whole nations and recruits thousands of new fighters with Western passports and plots another attack on the United States. Its much more comfortable to blame the failures of your own society on the west than to fault your own backward society.

Ali Khedery is an expert on the Middle East, CEO of the Dubai-based Dragoman Partners, and previously worked the U.S. State and Defense departments, and served as an American official in Iraq from 2003 to 2009, special assistant to five U.S. ambassadors and senior advisor to three commanders of U.S. Central Command.

When he says “They’re coming” and “another 9/11 is imminent” we need to pay attention. He wrote a letter to President Obama in Politico on Tuesday, attempting to warn the president that he needs new advisors, and a “Middle East Czar.” “Someone who can help contain and quell separate conflict in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq before they merge into a full-fledged regional war.” This is not the J.V. team, but the most virulent form of transnational jihad the planet has ever seen. Here he is, being interviewed by Jake Tapper.



Are We Capable of Learning From History? by The Elephant's Child

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What do you do with human nature? Good and Evil? There have been many articles portraying the Islamic State, ISIS or IS, as pure evil—yet they see themselves as purifying their world by eliminating those who do not worship their real God properly. They are tearing down shrines and archeological monuments as antithetical, destroying the past as portrayed by rival religions. They are not just demanding adherence to their version of Islam, but those who don’t submit instantly are slaughtered, executed, crucified, beheaded or buried alive. All in the name of religion. Clearly, they believe they are doing good.

Obama, to all appearances, believes that America’s assumption of world leadership has been immoral and has caused almost all the world’s problems over the past century, and we need to let others take the leadership position so we can be something more like a big Belgium. He has been forced by world events to take notice, but he doesn’t want to do it, he finds the ways prescribed to tackle events disagreeable, and he would much prefer to just tell everybody to stop it and start getting along. To make matters worse he keeps telling everyone that he won’t do anything actually unpleasant because he would prefer to be admired. That has no restraining effect on our enemies. That Nobel Peace Prize was a long time ago.

This is in total agreement with a major sector of the Democratic Party. Elizabeth Warren, leftist crackpot, said that “the president has now taken two very targeted actions, and those two actions will change the mix of what’s happening in Iraq, and we’ll just have to monitor it.”

“The point is there has to be a negotiated solution in Iraq, but we don’t negotiate with terrorists. This is partially a question of whether the U.S. government negotiates or whether we have the Iraqi government doing these negotiations, and how we help support them as they try to maintain an integrated country, and a country that better represents all of the people who live there.”

I don’t think the president’s actions will change anything, except IS will spread out more so they are not such good targets. Nobody is interested in the slightest in negotiation, or in sharing a nation. It is way too late for that. There may be a moment in time when antagonist forces are open to just stopping their losses, but that was before they became the richest terrorist group on earth and the best equipped.

Obama is still certain that he can negotiate a settlement between Hamas and Israel, that somehow he can persuade the Israelis to give up enough land and freedom to satisfy Hamas and there will be a “two-state solution.” He really cannot get it through his head that Hamas just wants all Israelis dead. Genocide.

Understanding human nature means grasping the depths to which human evil can descend. We read about it, but we just don’t get it. The media, to protect our sensibilities, carefully blurs the heads and the bodies of the victims of the Islamic State. We have a picture today of a little kid, 7 years old, with a decapitated head in a bag over his shoulder. You can’t see the head, just the bulge in the bag. Small children are being offered weapons so they can go kill infidels for the glory of Allah. What do you do with the mentality that glorifies killing and celebrates blood lust?

There are lessons to be learned from every conflict, but we seldom learn them. We prefer to be entertained, and wait for the media to tell us what they believe we ought to know. The media, in general, are not up to the task. We have an obligation to study up, to understand our own times and our own history. We expect our representatives to manage our affairs responsibly, and we elect representatives who are neither responsible nor qualified.  Will they learn the lessons of history?

Democracy cannot thrive without a certain diet of truth. It cannot survive if the degree of truth in current circulation falls below a minimal level. A democratic regime, founded on the free determination of important choices made by a majority, condemns itself to death if most of the citizens who have to choose between various options make their decisions in ignorance of reality, blinded by passions or misled by fleeting impressions.
………………………………………………...Jean-Francois Revel



Obama: Leaving Iraq? “As If This Was My Decision!” by The Elephant's Child

Just before he left on vacation on Saturday, President Obama spoke briefly about the  situation in Iraq. One reporter asked the president if he had any “second thoughts about pulling all ground troops out of Iraq? And does it give you pause as the U.S. — is doing the same thing in Afghanistan?”

The President:

What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision.  Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government.  In order for us to maintain troops in Iraq, we needed the invitation of the Iraqi government and we needed assurances that our personnel would be immune from prosecution if, for example, they were protecting themselves and ended up getting in a firefight with Iraqis, that they wouldn’t be hauled before an Iraqi judicial system.

And the Iraqi government, based on its political considerations, in part because Iraqis were tired of a U.S. occupation, declined to provide us those assurances.  And on that basis, we left. We had offered to leave additional troops.  So when you hear people say, do you regret, Mr. President, not leaving more troops, that presupposes that I would have overridden this sovereign government that we had turned the keys back over to and said, you know what, you’re democratic, you’re sovereign, except if I decide that it’s good for you to keep 10,000 or 15,000 or 25,000 Marines in your country, you don’t have a choice — which would have kind of run contrary to the entire argument we were making about turning over the country back to Iraqis, an argument not just made by me, but made by the previous administration.

So let’s just be clear:  The reason that we did not have a follow-on force in Iraq was because the Iraqis were — a majority of Iraqis did not want U.S. troops there, and politically they could not pass the kind of laws that would be required to protect our troops in Iraq.

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Direct from the White House website. From the White House press office:

“After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011,” he said. “So today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year.”

Yesterday, the president said in the state dining room:

I ran for this office in part to end our war in Iraq and welcome our troops home, and that’s what we’ve done. As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.

And so even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.

The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces.

As if that’s going to happen. There can be no reconciliation with ISIS, and there cannot be peace or reconciliation until ISIS is defeated. How that is to be accomplished is unknown. Stronger Iraqi security forces are needed, but what is Obama going to do to bring that about?  Apparently not much.

Dexter Filkins explained in The New Yorker how Obama failed to secure the status of forces agreement. When Obama announced the withdrawal, he portrayed it as the culmination of his own strategy.

Must be hard — keeping track of which way the political winds are blowing. Does he really not think we can look up what he said the last time? Or does he just believe it doesn’t matter?

Max Boot explores the problem a little more deeply in the Weekly Standard, September 19, 2011.

If it’s good, the president will take credit, if it’s bad, it’s not his fault.  Simple.



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!



A Must-See Collection of Historical Photographs. by The Elephant's Child

Here is a fascinating display of historical black and white photographs — colorized for modern eyes. Up until the 1970s color photography was somewhat rare and the color prints did not always age well anyway. Admitting my vast age, I was far more familiar with black and white photos than color, and as far as that goes, the color was not always accurate, so I can’t quite understand the idea that “colorizing” old photos “gives us our only chance at seeing what the world really looked like back then.” But it is a theme I have heard often, so it must be true for those for whom black and white photos are — weird.

The colorizing is beautifully done. You will enjoy these 53 historical photos.



Obama Creates New Job-Training Plan, Then Floods Job Market With Illegals. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama has announced “The First Significant Legislative Reform of Our Job-Training System in a Number of Years: The ‘Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act,” which he signed into law last week. I remain skeptical. Our experience with green jobs, crumbling roads and bridges, or something like 45 or 50 federal job-training programs that were duplicative or useless didn’t work out well.

The president tasked Vice President Biden with a review of our country’s job-training programs to make sure that they have one mission; training our workers with the skills employers need, and matching them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.

About the time that Obama was boasting about all the green jobs his various green energy programs were going to create, I was getting some additional insulation for my attic. Obama had a lot of programs going to train people to better insulate houses. A little perusal of the phone book demonstrated that there were lots of small companies already selling insulation services, and hurting in a down economy because they didn’t have enough work.

It turned out that there weren’t all that many “green jobs”anyway, and when the government tried to list them, the list contained garbage truck drivers, bus drivers, accountants, all sorts of occupations that seemed a real stretch to call “green. Turned out the wind turbines and solar arrays were installed by factory representatives that did a one-time install and that job was over. All that remained was maintenance. And most of the green energy companies went bankrupt in short order anyway.

What has continued to bother me is the clear attitude of the administration that things like job training should be the province of the government. What do a bunch of bureaucrats who have never worked in the private sector know about job training? But there is this certainty that a program or a policy requires a governmental expert to devise the program and be in charge of the program. I have seen no evidence that most of the people in government are experts.

I labor under the conviction that there is very little that is done by the government that is well done or efficient or well designed, or even necessary. The government’s number one job is national defense, and no administration has ever done such a bumbling job of it.  Now they are slashing the military to the size it was before World War II!

We lost a lot of good men who tried to do battle with inadequate and obsolete equipment and waiting for trained replacements, quite specifically because our government was unready and unprepared for war. In 1933 the Army of the United States numbered 137,000 men, 16th in size in the world. The French army was 5 million. In 1940, Hitler invaded France. U.S.  conscription was reinstituted and by Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, the army had grown to 1,640,000. With our entry into WWII, the army expanded to 8,300,000— not very well trained and poorly equipped, but the Arsenal of Democracy was just tuning up.

“The bill I’m about to sign,” [Obama] said, “will give communities more certainty to invest in job-training programs for the long run.” He added that the bill will help bring those training programs into the 21st century by “building on what we know works based on evidence, and based on tracking what actually delivers” for those who enroll in the programs — more partnerships with employers, tools to measure performance, and flexibilities for states and cities to innovate and run their training programs in ways best suited for their particular demographics and particular industries.

The problem is the conviction that government must do it all, that government is full of wise experts who will direct the ordinary folk:

Before the signing, the Vice President presented the President with the “roadmap” he asked for in the State of the Union — on “how to keep and maintain the highest-skilled workforce in the world.” The report highlights successful job-training programs, details executive actions by the federal government, and aims to help more Americans in getting and moving up in high-demand jobs and careers.

Most colleges and universities do a poor job of preparing students for employment. Most community colleges try to have good occupational programs, and there are lots of vocational schools around. Are they all ineffective? Can the federal government do better? I doubt it.

It’s my experience that a growing economy produces jobs, and when the free market is set free, it starts growing. Business today is hampered by a swamp of regulation. Every time Obama wants to expand, they are swamped with new rules, red tape, new expenses, and new costs for doing business.

Today comes news that Obama is planning “something dramatic,” “very significant” executive action on immigration by summer’s end. US Rep. Luis Gutierrez expects” 3 or 4 maybe even 5 million covered by executive order. Some are expecting granting the ability to apply for work permits. This would be a typical Obama move, with one hand starting a new “jobs program,” with the other — making illegal aliens eligible for jobs. That’s the kind of thing he has been doing for 5 years.

The specter of thousands of unaccompanied children, mainly from Central America, crossing the Texas border has increased a sense of urgency among the American people for reforming the immigration system despite inaction by a “broken Congress,” Dan Pfeiffer, the president’s deputy communications director told the Christian Science Monitor. That gives the president “broad permission” to take action, said Pfeiffer, adding that Obama is consulting with Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson to be sure his planned action will on “solid legal footing” and have maximum impact.

 



Hamas Plan to Destroy Israel, and Kill All Israelis by The Elephant's Child

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“While Gaza is ‘Mired in Poverty,’ Hamas has built at least 36 tunnels at $1 million each.” That was the headline in the Washington Post.

While the Gaza Strip remains mired in poverty — the 2011 per capita income was $1,165 — Hamas is thought to have sunk more than $1 million into the excavation and maintenance of every tunnel. “Much to the misfortune of the people of Gaza, Hamas has invested far more resources in ‘underground Gaza’ than in ‘upper Gaza,’” wrote al-Monitor’s Shlomi Eldar. “The ‘change and reform’ that Hamas offered its voters was invested in its tunnels at the expense of the people of Gaza.”

The tunnel network, and the IDF has so far discovered 36 though there are undoubtedly more,  was intended not just for kidnapping, but for a grand assault on the coming Jewish New Year Holiday, Rosh Hashanah. The plan entailed a surprise attack in which 200 Hamas fighters would be dispatched through dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border from Gaza to Israel , to seize kibbutzim and other communities while killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians.

Excavation of the concrete-lined tunnels which are elaborate, with arteries, veins and offshoots in intricate and elaborate arrangement has meant the seizure of  tons of Hamas supplies and weapons, as well as plans for attacks. The tunnels  were apparently constructed with the work of Palestinian children, (to get into small spaces?) at least 160 Palestinian children are known to have died in tunnel construction.

Egypt’s army said that they have destroyed 13 more tunnels running between the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip. Hamas uses the Gaza tunnels to smuggle arms, food and money into the Palestinian enclave. Hamas talks often of “the blockade” but all that is blockaded are arms, weapons and tunnel-making supplies. Food, medicine and ordinary goods are checked for the presence of weapons and sent freely into Gaza. Hamas is an affiliate of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, and they have made many attacks on Egypt.

Con Coughlin reports in the Telegraph that Hamas terrorists are attempting to negotiate a new arms deal with North Korea for missiles and communications equipment that will allow them to continue their offensive against Israel.

Israel left Gaza entirely in 2005. Settlers were forced to move. The Gaza territory could have been a thriving seaside resort, they have long beautiful Mediterranean beaches. Israel left a vast array of greenhouses that could have been a source of jobs for Palestinians, food, and income. Instead they destroyed the greenhouses.

Evelyn Gordon noted at the Commentary website that this sentence from a Haaretz news report “that Palestinians have been taught to measure their national self-worth by the amount of pain, or even mere disruption, they can inflict on Jews,” explains why Israel and Hamas go to war every few years.

Here is a translation of the main points of “The Covenant of The Hamas.” It’s important to understand who they are.

European newspapers are full of stories about all the protests against Israel going on across Europe. But one notices that the articles never mention who is protesting, the simply call them protesters. Accompanying pictures make it pretty clear that they are Moslem immigrants, unassimilated.

Now just to escalate the situation a little further — “Freedom Flotilla II” is set to sail for Gaza from Turkey. Same deal at 2010’s ‘Mavi Marmara’ scheduled to take off with Turkish military protection. The ostensible excuse is to bring “humanitarian aid to the Hamas-controlled coastal sector. It’s being organized by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) the same organization that was behind the previous flotilla that sought to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip in May 2010. “

” Israeli Navy Commandos boarded the ship, were attacked, and killed nine of the attackers.  So far there has been only  a declaration of intent.” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has long been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Israel’s blockade of shipments to Gaza is only to prevent military weapons and  tunnel construction material from reaching Gaza. Humanitarian aid gets through just fine.

Hamas hides rockets in schools, hospitals, and in private homes. When the IDF is sure where the missiles are coming from, they call the residents and warn them, send leaflets, and do everything possible to avoid injury to civilian Palestinians. Hamas demands that civilians stay in targeted locations as human shields for their weapons.



The Origins of Liberalism: A New History by The Elephant's Child

The “narrative” of the Left, to use a newly favorite leftist word, contains a view of America as “an exceptionally guilty nation, the product of a poisonous mixture of territorial rapacity emboldened by racism, violence, and chauvinistic religious conviction, an exploiter of natural resources and despoiler of natural beauty and order such as the planet has never seen.” ( Thank you, Howard Zinn) So says Wilfrid M. McClay in a review of Fred Siegel’s new book: The Revolt Against the MassesThere is as well a second view “in which all of history is seen as a struggle toward the greater and greater liberation of the individual, and the greater and greater integration of all governance in larger and larger units, administered; by cadres of experts actuated by the public interest and by a highly developed sense of justice.”

It’s an important book, “a critique of liberalism by someone who came out of the left.” Siegel believes that liberalism has come to be the mortal enemy of the ordinary working people who are the backbone of America.

Siegel traces modern liberalism back, not to Woodrow Wilson’s progressivism, but to the aftermath of World War I, and the intelligentsia’s view of  the dreary middle class nature of American society.

Between January of 1920 and July of 1922 when the Twenties began to roar, the country endured an economic collapse nearly as steep as that between 1929 and 1933. But the plummet was followed by a rapid recovery under Harding, who was devoted to less government through lower taxes and less regulation. This might have seemed a vindication of the American way, particularly as compared with Europe’s ongoing woes. But the short, sharp downturn, resolved without government intervention, drew only passing intellectual attention. Literary elites soon returned to their central themes. …

[The radicals of 1922] many of them Harvard men, were driven by resentment. The so-called lost generation…was “extremely class-conscious.” They had “‘a vague belief in aristocracy and in the possibilities of producing real aristocrats through education.” They went to Europe “to free themselves from organized stupidity, to win their deserved place in the hierarchy of intellect.” They felt that their status in America’s business culture was grossly inadequate, given their obviously exceptional intelligence and extraordinary talent. Their simmering anger at what they saw as the mediocrity of democratic life led them to pioneer the now commonplace stance of blaming society for their personal failings. Animated by patrician spirit, they found the leveling egalitarianism of the United States an insult to their sense of self-importance.

Well, the radicals of 1922, the radicals of the sixties, not all that much difference. The Democrats of 2014 have a remarkably squalid bench. Hillary is supposed to be the first woman president, but her accomplishment list is scanty, her tenure as Secretary of State is measured in frequent-flyer miles, and a “reset” button. Her tenure as a senator in a safe Democrat seat has nothing to add to the resume. Her claim to qualifications is as Bill’s wife. If you remember, she started out the Clinton reign by wanting to be the co-president. The people were not impressed. Bill was a natural political animal. Hillary simply does not have his political instincts.

The alternate to Hillary is being drummed up as Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) the faux-Indian law professor from Harvard, who is unable to understand the simple direct meaning of the Hobby Lobby case. She issued her “11 commandments” for Progressives this week, which only show that her understanding of cause and effect, and how regulation works is remarkably thin.

Tom Sowell recently pointed out that: “The fundamental problem of the political Left seems to be that the real world does not fit their preconceptions. Therefore they see the real world as what is wrong, and what needs to be changed, since apparently their preconceptions cannot be wrong.”

As I said, the new word is “disproportionate” Sowell adds: “A never-ending source of grievances for the Left is the fact that some groups are ‘over-represented’ in desirable occupations, institutions, and income brackets, while other groups are ‘under-represented.’ From all the indignation and outrage about this expressed on the left, you might think that it was impossible that different groups are simply better at different things.”

Yet runners from Kenya continue to win a disproportionate share of marathons in the United States, and children whose parents or grandparents came from India have won most of the American spelling bees in the past 15 years. And has anyone failed to notice that the leading professional basketball players have for years been black, in a country where most of the population is white?

Most of the leading photographic lenses in the world have — for generations — been designed by people who were either Japanese or German. Most of the leading diamond-cutters in the world have been either India’s Jains or Jews from Israel or elsewhere. …

If the preconceptions of the Left were correct, central planning by educated elites who had vast amounts of statistical data at their fingertips and expertise readily available, and were backed by the power of government, should have been more successful than market economies where millions of individuals pursued their own individual interests willy-nilly.

And to return to where I began, with Wilfrid McClay: “The arrogance that looks upon the actual lives of ordinary people with pity and disdain is, at least potentially, the same arrogance that knows what would be better for those pathetic folks, and presumes itself fit to impose upon them a new way of life that is more fitting and fulfilling than their present condition, had they the wit to realize it.”




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