American Elephants


Dancing Around the Subject of Boots on the Ground by The Elephant's Child

bootsWhite House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained carefully today that “I think the way that I would describe it is that everybody did — that everybody was surprised to see the rapid advance that ISIS as ale to make from Syria across the Iraqi border and to be able to take over large swaths of territory in Iraq — did come as a surprise.”

Jonathan Karl, ABC News reporter questioned, during the White House Press Briefing, Obama’s comments during his CBS 60 Minutes interview that the intelligence community had “underestimated” the strength of ISIS in Syria.

“I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” Obama said.

Karl brought up the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who warned back in February that ISIS  “probably will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength in 2014.”

Josh Earnest responded that the president was simply referring to Clapper’s comments and had “complete confidence” in the intelligence community.

Clapper became director of national intelligence to “Obamacize” America’s intelligence operations according to Investors. He replaced Admiral Dennis Blair who was described by former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) as being “cut off at every turn” by a White House intent on treating terrorism as a law-enforcement problem. Hence all the “workplace violence” claims, and refusal to say the word ‘terrorism’ or ‘war.’ Investor continued:

You could also see it all in the venom that accompanied Obama’s laying the blame on former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for not producing “a government that had built a sense of national unity.”

New Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, says Obama, “so far at least has sent all the right signals.” And so “it goes back to” that “we can’t do this for them” — the familiar Democrat rationale for pulling troops out prematurely from Iraq. These countries that have never known representative government must “think about what political accommodation means, think about what tolerance means,” according to Obama.

Richard Epstein said that Obama does not change his mind. If he once believes something, it is set in concrete, and he believes it today. The preceding comments suggest that Obama expects far more change to come from Iraqi Prime Ministers  than he is willing to consider for himself.  This is the leader of the free world trying to explain to the cameras why a country infested with terrorists didn’t follow the program devised for them by a political party in this country wrote to win an election.

Everyone is noticing that when Obama takes credit it is all “I” and “my success.” When it doesn’t go well, somebody else gets the blame — that’s all “they and “you,” or even the passive “We.” Obama himself is never, never at fault.

The air strikes are apparently all taking place at night on previously noted targets. ISIS is moving in among the general population to make themselves safe from American attack — exactly as we were told they would respond.  So we have some advisers on the ground, apparently bootless, but no troops. So this is a war that is not a war, but merely an advisory role with a coalition of Arab states who are going along with our air strikes with their planes, or not. It is not exactly clear who is doing what.

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal is titled “The Obama-Military Divide,” with the subhead “what should senior officers do if experience tells them that the president’s plan to defeat ISIS is unworkable without U.S. Combat troops?”  It is abundantly clear that the president has little understanding of things military and how the military works. He remains stuck on hating Bush for the Iraq War, and believing that ending the War in Iraq was what got him elected. I believe he’s wrong on all counts.



Let’s Go Back to Calling it “The War Department.” by The Elephant's Child

Professor Stephen L. Carter had a fine column at Bloomberg, and I’m delighted to see that others have noticed the general obfuscation of dancing around the language without ever calling anything by its name. Political language attempts to mold and sway public opinion, and often does so quite successfully to our great misfortune. We can deal with the truth, but we are being asked to deal with a tissue of lies that we are told represents truth. They have to obfuscate so we will keep them in office. Here’s Professor Carter:

Not content with fighting over whether to call the war on Islamic State a war, and whether to call Islamic State the enemy, we are now arguing whether to call Islamic State Islamic State.

Ah, the words of war. War has never brought out the best in the language. This administration, like its predecessor, is prosecuting its war that isn’t a war under the authority of a declaration of war that isn’t a declaration of war but an “Authorization for the Use of Military Force.” (In keeping with this dubious approach, the dollar costs of these wars that are not wars are not carried on our budget that isn’t a budget.)

There will be U.S. ground forces in Iraq, but they are not to be called boots on the ground, although they will be on the ground and presumably wearing boots. The war that is not a war against the enemy that is not an enemy will be prosecuted in Syria, too, although Syria, lacking a government recognized in the West, may not actually be Syria. …

This obfuscation of language is not confined to war, but perhaps just more noticeable. It’s a standard trick in the hands of the propagandist. Read the whole thing.



Attacking ISIS In An Environmentally Sound Way, With Weapons Obama Scrapped. by The Elephant's Child

To protect the environment, coalition forces will attack only small capacity mobile petroleum refineries but not fixed oil fields, in order to minimize the potential for environmental damage. (escaping carbon) It’s a precaution, they say. I gather that a mobile petroleum refinery is a modular make-shift refiner capable of being set up elsewhere, but I freely admit I know nothing about that. They are used to process oil from the Syrian fields into diesel fuel which is then smuggled across the border into Turkey. which gets them up to $2 million a day to support their efforts.

From a strategic perspective, the decision to leave ISIS oil fields intact makes little sense. On the other hand it’s not smart to repeat the damage in 1991 when Saddam Hussein set Kuwaiti oil fields on fire. The government says they are attempting not to destroy a potential future for post-Assad Syria.

In another odd note, the president is launching attacks on the Islamic State with two weapons that he targeted for elimination years before their usefulness ended or when replacements were ready. He slashed the budgets and weapons systems that he opposed, yet suddenly at the start of a long and sustained campaign to “degrade and destroy” the terrorist group, he’s finding the military quite useful.

The first strikes on Monday included 47 Tomahawk missiles fired from two guided missile warships, part of the George H.W. Bush carrier battle group. The Tomahawk was slated by Obama to be phased out though there is no timely replacement. The Navy last year had plans to buy 980 more Tomahawks ans the primary cruise missile used throughout the fleet.   Obama has already fired off almost half of next year’s planned purchases.

The Syrian campaign was expected to be tougher going than the effort in Libya where there was no serious air defense weaponry to worry about. The Air Force chose to use the F-22 Raptor for the first time in combat because its ability to evade radar detection and high-speed maneuverability make it ideal for high-risk environments. Obama called it a “Cold War ” weapon and slated it for the scrap heap.

Someone noted the other day that Obama went to great lengths to avoid saying the word ‘war.’ He’s called it an ‘effort,’ a ‘process,’ a ‘fight,’ a ‘campaign’,and ‘a moment of American leadership.’ That’s a pretty impressive list of avoidance vocabulary.

It’s nice to believe firmly that peace is good, and that with expert diplomacy we can avoid these nasty little wars. Trouble is we don’t have expert diplomacy. We have John Kerry, and previously the reset button Hillary Clinton, and a couple of unserious young women as  spokespersons for the State Department.



ISIS Is Recruiting Openly in American Mosques. The FBI Has Been Forbidden To Use Religion to Monitor Them. by The Elephant's Child

The Investigative Project on Terrorism is critical to our nation’s security. There is no other non-governmental group that has better intelligence or data on the threat to the United States and our allies. Making do with a bare bones budget, the IPT is a national treasure whose influence and achievements are unparalleled.

That is from U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra, Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. It is not an exaggeration to say that because of Democrat political correctness hamstringing our FBI agents, they could not combat the Islamists in our midst without Steven Emerson. The former head of FBI Investigations and Counter-Terrorism said “The Investigative Project has been one of the most important sources of accurate and timely information on the real goals and objectives of the widespread and powerful Islamist movement.”

Emerson said “Isis is Al Qaeda 3.0. They are already in the United States and the only reason there has not been a terror attack is that they have not decided to do it yet.”

The FBI has been handcuffed in terms of investigating religious extremists in mosques, as a result of guidelines put out by the attorney general earlier this year. And so therefore, there is… a definite problem now in investigating those militants in the United States who are either recruiting for ISIS or have returned from Syria or Iraq having fought for ISIS, and are ready to carry out freelance or directed terrorist attacks on behalf of ISIS against the United States…

the Department of Justice [which] put out guidelines that restricted the FBI and other law enforcement agencies from using religious factors in identifying threats, national security threats to the United States in the homeland.

…we’re seeing ISIS recruiting biophysicists, engineers, social media types, people who have expertise in really carrying out sophisticated terrorist attacks coming back to the United States.

Emerson says there are three to four hundred ISIS killers in Syria and Iraq with American passports, who can return whenever they want and the Obama administration has blocked the FBI from monitoring them in mosques. Obama will do nothing to revoke the passports of those who have gone to fight with ISIS, and has forbidden the FBI from using Religion to identify terror threats.  Political correctness gone amok. I hope we do not have to pay too heavy a price.



The Democrats’ Distaste for Human Nature by The Elephant's Child

Republicans, at least some of us, spend far too much time trying to figure out Democrats. We just don’t understand why they believe the things they do, when it is so obvious….
That’s how politics works. Democrats, I often call “the perpetually discontented”. They just don’t like much of anything the way it is, and want to fix it, or at least change it.  The problem is human nature. They don’t like that either.

Their distaste for human nature as it is, is clear enough. Democrats are sure that peace is the natural state of affairs, and war is an ugly outbreak that should not be permitted. We agree that war is an ugly outbreak, and think peace is much to be desired, but we don’t believe that reminding terrorists that peace is to be preferred accomplishes much. Republicans’ most basic acknowledgment is that a people who can’t always get along with members of their own families, are probably by nature fractious, and nations will have a hard time getting along as well as families.

This is why we have political correctness, and multiculturalism and controls on free speech on campus. I could go on and on, but they are trying desperately to control by regulation, law, and societal disapproval all those tendencies that they dislike so much in human nature. No more Polish jokes, you may not call Islamists Islamist. Can’t we all just get along? And if you are not cooperating, we will have a new regulation to be sure that you do. Or perhaps we’ll send a SWAT team, and confiscate your stuff, and issue huge fines to be sure you understand that you and  your actions have been condemned. No messy human nature allowed.

Polish jokes were once just thought funny, along with Irish jokes and British jokes and Russian jokes and jokes about feminists and jocks. We didn’t lose our sense of humor, we got political correctness and being called down to human resources and possibly even sentenced to ‘sensitivity’ training.  We were told it was just to be “nice,” but that isn’t true at all.

Human nature is messy. We’re nice, and we’re not. We are mean, quarrelsome, insensitive, rude, violent, stupid, ill-informed, crooked, stuck-up, vicious, lazy, honest, hard-working, and liars. If you just try to make a list of some of the qualities, good or bad, of human nature, it is astonishing how many words there are to describe the various attributes of us. Democrats will continue to try to fix us to their satisfaction. A futile task.



Hindsight. Bwa-ha-ha-ha Ha! by The Elephant's Child

President Obama on Tuesday explained his decision to launch airstrikes in Syria, arguing that he has a responsibility to protect America from terrorist influences in that part of the world.

But there was a time when the president and his allies repeatedly mocked former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential election for the Republican candidate’s numerous warnings on Syria, the Middle East, and general unrest aboard.

In fact, Vice President Joe Biden regularly mocked Romney’s talk of war in the Middle East, and his jeering remarks, in retrospect, seem worthier of regret than chuckles.

Romney “said it was a mistake to end the war in Iraq and bring all of our warriors home,” Biden said on September 2, 2012. “He said it was a mistake to set an end date for our warriors in Afghanistan and bring them home. He implies by the speech that he’s ready to go to war in Syria and Iran.”

Biden also regularly took shots at Romney’s warnings over Russia.

The Republicans candidate “wants to move from cooperation to confrontation with Putin’s Russia. And these guys say the president’s out of touch?” the vice president asked.

Those campaign taunts didn’t hold up so well, did they?



They Came, They Marched — A Useless Event. by The Elephant's Child

There is nothing that the”Greenies” could do that demonstrates so effectively the absolute bankruptcy of their cause, than the big Climate March Sunday. The celebrities arrive on their private jets, and attract the appropriate media attention. Leo DiCaprio, departing from his rented billionaire’s yacht arrived to march behind the signs deploring capitalism and consumerism.

He got a big caregal-green8-jpger boost with a Vanity Fair cover purporting to save polar bears from global warming back in 2007. DiCaprio was photographed in Iceland, and a shot of  the adorable polar bear cub ‘Knut’, born in captivity in the Berlin Zoo, was stripped in. It was the “Green Issue.” and loads of free publicity for DiCaprio.

Well, Knut died young in Berlin.  Polar bears turned out not only not to be endangered, but to be dramatically increasing in numbers and to have managed the slight warming and cooling of the climate with no problem at all. Having been publicized as an environmental activist, DiCaprio has to turn up for marches.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was busted in 1984 for  heroin possession, and sentenced to 800 hours of community service, which he worked off by volunteering at the Hudson River Foundation, which introduced him to the possibilities of environmentalism. He copyrighted the name Waterkeeper, and collected funds from the many environmental groups with “keeper” as part of their name.

He collected an array of trial lawyer firms who had experience in lawsuits against tobacco companies, to sue giant pork producers and processors. Each of the law firms committed itself to an initial ‘ante’ of $50,000 to work with Kennedy. The idea was to monitor cases where even the tiniest amount of material from pork producers or processors might contaminate a river, stream, lake , bay or coastline. Kennedy would use his celebrity status to publicize these cases and alleged risks to human health. He estimated the potential “damages” that could be collected from the pork industry at somewhere between 9 and 13 billion dollars, a large portion of which the trial lawyers would rake off for themselves.

They have also gone after Bayer pharmaceuticals for the purported downstream impact of its livestock antibiotic Baytril. They allege that residues of the prescription drug pass through animals and into rivers and groundwater. They only need to find a sympathetic judge and jury. Riverkeeper says:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. Mr. Kennedy was named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet” for his success helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group’s achievement helped spawn over 185 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe.

The marchers were opposed to “fracking,” the Keystone XL pipeline, carbon dioxide, fossil fuels of any kind, the rise of the oceans, global warming,  and extreme weather. They inexplicably favored Socialism as the answer c762259a-437c-4fc9-9cf2-85cbd1b690d5-460x276— but China doesn’t seem to have found an answer yet. Even more, their arguments are failing, one after another.

The National Science Foundation has just given ‘Fracking” a clean bill of health.  The extent of ice in the Antarctic keeps setting new all-time records, one after another. “Extinct species” turn out not to be extinct after all. Carbon dioxide is a natural fertilizer for plants and helps them to grow and survive drought. The amount of CO² in the atmosphere keeps growing, but the planet hasn’t warmed in the slightest for nearly 18 years. (But the children!) The ocean is rising in millimeters, not inches or feet.

The alarmist cause has meant that a dusty corner of science —climatology— has moved to center stage in the western world with grants and investment in labs, and climate meetings in some of the world’s nicest resorts, fame and recognition. There are enormous fortunes being made on the issue of climate alarmism. Aside from such notable cases as Al Gore and Tom Steyer, look at the money made from renewable energy, from ethanol, from biofuels — because politicians afraid of not supporting environmentalism — spend billions to fix things and the politically connected line up for government largesse. (But consensus!)

Add in electric cars, wind farms that have just received a free 30-year pass from the federal government for killing endangered eagles. Some are afraid they may make the species extinct. Wind produces electricity only when the wind blows at the right speed, which is not anywhere near constantly. A wind turbine must have 24/7 backup from a conventional power plant for all the times the wind isn’t blowing at the right speed. Turbines and wind die down in the winter. Solar arrays produce energy only when the sun is shining. (Clouds, night) And also require 24/7 backup from a conventional power plant. (But 97%)

It was all — just embarrassing.

The chants echoed through the skyscraper canyons, the drums rolled, participants were caught up in a sense of unity and togetherness that some of them had never known. It was almost like politics, almost like the epochal marches that have toppled governments and changed history ever since the Paris mob stormed the Bastille.

Almost. Except street marches today are to real politics what street mime is to Shakespeare. This was an ersatz event: no laws will change, no political balance will tip, no UN delegate will have a change of heart. The world will roll on as if this march had never happened.




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