American Elephants


White House Correspondent Ed Henry Asks — Why? by The Elephant's Child

During today’s press briefing, Fox News White House Correspondent Ed Henry inquired of Press Secretary Josh Earnest whether it was prudent for the president to spend the weekend fundraising for his party and golfing while terrorist acts are being committed against the United States. Obama has stated that his administration has no strategy for dealing with ISIS. Henry asked Earnest:

I wonder what you think about the optics of the president, from that podium yesterday, does not have a strategy to deal with ISIS in serious military, and then next day, without that strategy, goes out and raises campaign money?

Is he detached? Does he feel like the critics coming after him, it just doesn’t matter anymore?” Henry asked. “Why is he still raising campaign money, playing golf, when he’s acknowledging he doesn’t have a strategy to deal with this?

Josh Earnest:

The job of any U.S. president is to be able to handle a lot of different responsibilities at the same time,” Earnest replied, in defense of Obama’s fundraising and golfing. The secretary added that Obama has a national security team, to whom he has outsourced the job of looking after America’s national security challenges.

“Outsourced.” There’s a remarkable lot hiding behind that word.



The President Made a Statement to the Press. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama held one of his rare press conferences today, and even took a few questions. He announced to the world that he has no strategy to deal with ISIS.  Maybe later.

He announced that we aren’t taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem. I’m sure Mr. Putin is relieved.

He’s sending Secretary Kerry to Iraq, because they have to develop a more inclusive government. Our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader comprehensive strategy, but we don’t have that either.

He has, however, directed Secretary Hagel and the Joint Chiefs to prepare a range of options.

Jen Psaki, State Department Spokesperson, showed that our State Department is right up on things. She held up a little handwritten sign with a hashtag. I forget what it said, probably something about being concerned.

Our country is in the very best of hands.

The President’s statement is available here.

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Nevermind ISIS or Russia, Fixing Global Warming is Much More Urgent! by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, which is silly enough, but he wants to do it without ratification from Congress. One little problem:

Under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.

How interesting that someone who liked to proclaim himself a scholar of Constitutional Law, should, after swearing an oath on the Lincoln Bible to “the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” be so determined to get his own way that he is willing to defy the Constitution in case after case. It is more than ignoring his oath, it is a matter of character. This is a man who cannot be trusted because he does not keep his word.

The New York Times casually notes that President Obama ignored the legislative process in his domestic climate-change agenda as well.

In seeking to go around Congress to push his international climate change agenda, Mr. Obama is echoing his domestic climate strategy. In June, he bypassed Congress and used his executive authority to order a far-reaching regulation forcing American coal-fired power plants to curb their carbon emissions. That regulation, which would not be final until next year, already faces legal challenges, including a lawsuit filed on behalf of a dozen states.

Doesn’t matter who disagrees with him, he’s right and you are wrong. He is the President of the United States, and he cannot be opposed.

Does anyone believe that the president has spent even five minutes studying up on global warming or climate change? He’s probably talked to Al Gore, and Science Advisor John Holdren, and all his backers and bundlers who have gotten rich off of the taxpayer money he has poured into energy scams and failed renewable energy projects. But actually looking into the science? Not a chance. Global Warming is for the Left the best chance of establishing social justice in the world. They believe because the Left believes. It is a religion, a matter of faith. As James Delingpole says:

First, they are determined to misrepresent this as a party political issue – in which ignorant, ideologically motivated, Big-Oil-funded Republican “denialists” are willfully and perversely obstructing the perfectly sensible climate policies fully supported by all Democrats. This wasn’t true in 1997 when the Senate voted down the first attempt at a binding international climate treaty – Kyoto – by 95 to 0. It isn’t true today.

Second, it refers to “established climate science” as if – to quote Al Gore – the science on global warming were “settled.” This was a risible notion even at the height of the global warming scare back in 1992 during the Rio Earth Summit when for a period global mean temperatures were actually rising but when scientists couldn’t agree why. It is even less plausible now, given that as all half-way serious scientists – alarmists and realists, alike – now acknowledge there has been no global warming in over 17 years.

Climate change, or global warming, does not even show up on the list of concerns of the American people. I don’t know if “naming and shaming” will convince anyone. The American people aren’t all that impressed with the United Nations either.



“Economic Patriotism” Is Plain Old Nonsense. by The Elephant's Child

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Democrats are not happy with President Obama, and they are trying desperately to change the subject from things like ISIS, and Russia, and foreign policy in general, ObamaCare, immigration, the miserable economy, and jobs, and jobs and jobs.

Their natural inclination is to focus on those things which arouse people’s passions, so naturally they are freaking out about Burger King’s plans to merge with Tim Horton’s Canadian coffee and donut chain and move to Canada. “Economic Patriotism” they cry, and moral panic and sheer rage that an American business would consider relocating for the simple reason of paying taxes. Obviously it’s time for my favorite quote from Walter Wriston:

Capital will go where it is wanted and stay
where it is well treated. It will flee from manipulation
or onerous regulation of its value or use and no
government power can restrain it for long.

The business of business is to make a profit. Liberals always want to impose other rules on business. They are deeply suspicious of the whole idea of profits. They are outraged at CEO salaries. Proper people work in service jobs, like government, or for foundations, or righteous causes or universities. Liberals are really quite conflicted about business. They were outraged by the Citizens United decision. And even more so by Mitt Romney’s claim that corporations are just people. On the other hand, they get enthusiastic support from some businesses like Google, or Facebook, but that’s different.

The problem isn’t just that America has the highest corporate taxes in the world, but that America collects taxes on the income earned in other countries., though those other countries collect taxes as well. Because they distrust business in general, Liberals have little hesitation in finding new and better ways to tax business.

Total tax costs are 46.4% lower in Canada than in the U.S. Is it really a surprise that Burger Kind wants to move there? Burger King would still pay their full taxes on income earned in the U.S. but their taxes on income earned in Canada would be taxed at Canadian rates.

The number one issue among American voters is unsurprisingly — jobs. If you vigorously try to maximize the taxes that American businesses pay, they will hire fewer people. If you raise taxes on business, they raise the cost of the goods or services they sell, or reduce their expenses, by cutting the number of people they employ.



Obama Can’t Identify the Problem, and Doesn’t Want To Deal With It. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama is back from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, and on Monday he spoke at the American Legion’s 96th National Convention. To sparse applause, he said the answer for ISIS’s “evolving terrorist threat” is not for America to “occupy countries and end up “feeding extremism.” …

The answer is not to send in large scale military deployments that over stretch our military, and lead for us occupying countries for a long period of time and end up feeding extremism.

Still blaming Bush, after all these years. The White House is struggling to find a message on the Middle East, any message. Marie Harf, State Department spokesperson, refused to acknowledge ISIS’ declaration of war with the United States of America. A reporter said “The reality is ISIS has announced it’s in a war against America,” adding that “Right or wrong that is what they are saying.”

Harf  emphasized the administration’s view that ISIS does not accurately represent the religion of Islam as a whole.

ISIL does not operate in the name of any religion. The president has been very clear about that, and the more we can underscore that, the better.

The Islamic State is fairly clear on who they believe themselves to be. Max Boot, is also clear:

Want to know what happens when the U.S. retreats from a leadership role in the Middle East? This is what happens–Egypt and the United Arab Emirates together collaborate to stage air strikes against Islamist militias in Libya. And meanwhile Qatar, which is at odds with its fellow Persian Gulf sheikhdom, the UAE, has been funneling arms to the very Islamist militias that UAE’s air force is bombing.

American officials quoted by the New York Times are said to be fuming about these attacks, “believing the intervention could further inflame the Libyan conflict as the United Nations and Western powers are seeking to broker a peaceful resolution…. ‘We don’t see this as constructive at all,’ said one senior American official.”

But guess what? When the U.S. has abdicated its leadership role, there is no reason for anyone–not our enemies and not our allies–to listen to what we have to say. In the case of Libya, the American failure to do more, in cooperation with our allies, to build up central government authority has brought us to a point where this country is fast becoming a failed state consigned to perpetual civil war.

Jen Psaki, State Department spokesperson offered the usual mush:

Libya’s challenges are political, and violence will not resolve them. Our focus is on the political process there. We believe outside interference exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya’s democratic transition. And that’s why our focus remains on urging all factions to come together to peacefully resolve the current crisis.

You see the problem. Obama believed from the first that American interference  was the cause of all the problems in the Middle East, and if we would just lend our expertise to “peaceful resolutions” then he would deserve the Nobel Peace Prize that he was so prematurely awarded.

Well, Hillary took a magical “reset button” to Russia, and Vladimir Putin decided the time was ripe to recover the Soviet Empire. Secretary Kerry has brokered “peace processes” and “cease fires” and misidentified intentions and misunderstood threats. We cannot even officially call the Fort Hood shooting terrorism, or call anyone a terrorist. This is not just a language problem, but a matter of facing up to reality instead of just wishful thinking.

“Both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have said there are no credible threats to the United States from the Islamic State terror group.” according to an intelligence memo  issued to state and local authorities.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel described the Islamic State as “beyond anything we’ve seen.” He called on U.S. intelligence resources to “take a cold steely look” and to “get ready” for a “9/11 level threat” to the United States, and presents a “whole new dynamic” as a national security challenge.

Mush. It is all mush. We have another “cease fire” between Hamas and Israel, until Hamas is ready to fire some more rockets at Israel. The Islamic State has captured a region the size of Belgium, and is recruiting fighters from all over the Middle East, Europe, Africa and America and Canada, and growing exponentially.

They have captured a nation’s American military equipment; a Syrian air force base. aircraft and anti-aircraft weapons. They have demonstrated a brutality beyond imagining, and the State Department carefully doesn’t want to admit that the Islamic State has anything to do with Islam. We are not only unprepared to address the threat, we cannot admit that there is a threat, nor describe it clearly. We’re still babbling about “brokering a peaceful solution.” We are easy prey .



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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